A 2-year-old North Philadelphia boy's mother and father were charged Friday with endangering the welfare of a child after the toddler was accidentally shot by his 4-year-old cousin on Thanksgiving Day with a handgun found in the parents' house, police said.
Rachel Santiago, 34, and Omar Laboy-Vega, also 34, of the 3500 block of North Ninth Street were charged after two handguns were recovered from their home, police said.
The father was charged with illegal possession of a weapon as a former convict.
About 4:20 p.m. Thursday, officers responding to a shooting at the house found the 2-year-old suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest. Police said he was shot once, with a bullet going through his finger, then entering his body.
The boy's 4-year-old cousin was playing with a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun found in the house when the gun fired, police said. "The mother was preparing Thanksgiving dinner when the two kids were playing with the gun," Chief Inspector Scott Small told reporters.
The toddler was rushed by police to Temple University Hospital, then transferred to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, where he was listed in critical but stable condition.
Sonia Pizarro, 49, who lives on the block, said Friday morning that when she drove home about 4:30 p.m. Thursday, she saw police cars on the block and others rushing there.
After she got out of her car, she said, a police officer was carrying the 2-year-old boy, whom Pizarro knows by his first name of Javier, into a police car.
The boy's father then ran out of the two-story brick rowhouse, hysterical.
"My baby, my baby, my baby," the man screamed, with tears coming down his face, Pizarro recalled.
The father rushed to the police car in front of his house, but it drove away to a hospital, leaving before an ambulance arrived, Pizarro said. She did not see the boy's mother outside.
Pizarro, like other neighbors, said she doesn't know the adults who live in the house well and doesn't know their names. She greets them when she sees them.
They are "good neighbors," who have lived on the block for a couple of years, she said.
The man sells grilled meats, like pork, out on the street corner at 9th and Venango, she said. The mother stays home.
Pizarro said two girls, a baby and an elementary-school age child, also live in the house.
At the rowhouse where the shooting occurred, the landlord was fixing the front door lock Friday morning after, he said, police had rushed in there on Thursday.
The owner, who declined to give his name, said the mother and father have been living there for a couple of years and rent the house. They have three kids, he said. He said he did not know anything about the shooting and declined to give the parents' names.
Joe Lamberty, 64, who has a house he is fixing up a few doors down from where the family lives, said of the shooting: "It's a shock." He said he does not know the family well.
Another man who lives on the block, who spoke in Spanish, said the father is close with his toddler son.
"El papá siempre con él [The father is always with him]," said the 60-year-old neighbor, who previously lived in the Dominican Republic and New York.