MICHIGAN CITY | A 24-year-old man was arrested in the shooting death of a 3-year-old Michigan City-area boy in what an official said was a game the man played with a gun.
LaPorte County Prosecutor Bob Szilagyi said Monday the boyfriend of the victim's mother told investigators he forgot the handgun was loaded when playing a gun game with the boy.
Zachariah Grisham, of rural Michigan City, is being held in the LaPorte County Jail on preliminary charges of reckless homicide and neglect of a dependent, both felonies.
LaPorte County and Michigan City authorities responded about 3:30 p.m. Sunday to Terrace Acres, a mobile home park along U.S. 20 near Hitchcock Street. The child, Lance Wilson, was found dead from a gunshot to the head inside the trailer where Grisham lived with the boy and his mother and at least one other child.
Szilagyi said Grisham and the boy often played a game where the boy pointed his finger at Grisham and said, "bang, bang."
Grisham would respond by pointing his gun at the boy and pulling the trigger.
Szilagyi said the investigation shows Grisham "this time forgot the chamber was loaded."
LaPorte County Sheriff's Department Maj. John Boyd said the tragic case is an example why parents and guardians of children need to take all precautions to eliminate any risks to their safety.
"This is just so preventable," Boyd said.
A neighbor, Sue Holloway said after several police vehicles and an ambulance arrived she went over to the child's home to find out what happened.
She wound up comforting the victim's mother, who appeared too shocked and numb to cry.
"She had blood on her hands," Holloway said. "I felt so bad that this happened. A sweet little innocent boy is gone.''
According to court documents, Grisham has a prior criminal record dating back to 2003. His latest brush with the law was in 2012 when fined $200 for a noise ordinance violation, court documents revealed.