EAST CHICAGO — Four-year-old Garrion Glover Jr. was watching cartoons in his mother’s living room the same night he was allegedly shot and killed by his uncle, newly unsealed court records show.
Lamario E. Delgado-Gonzalez, 23, was taken into custody Dec. 17 in Normal, Illinois, in connection with the May 11 death of Garrion at the boy’s Indiana Harbor section apartment, East Chicago police said.
Delgado-Gonzalez was extradited Dec. 21 to Lake County and is now in custody at the Lake County Jail on charges of murder, neglect of a dependent resulting in death and reckless homicide, court records show.
Delgado-Gonzalez was charged in October, but the court records were sealed until Delgado-Gonzalez's arrest.
The defendant is jailed without bond. A formal court appearance has not yet been scheduled, according to court records.
In interviews with police, Delgado-Gonzalez denied owning a weapon or having any involvement in Garrion’s death, but Instagram photos from his account show the 23-year-old sitting on the couch and holding a gun in that very apartment, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case.
Mother: Garrion did not shoot himself
Relatives told police after Garrion’s death the boy must have found a weapon in his apartment and accidentally shot himself, but the Lake County coroner's office later ruled his death a homicide and the investigation continued.
East Chicago police said in June they had been suspicious about inconsistent statements given during the investigation into Garrion’s death. The boy suffered a gunshot wound to the neck.
Police were dispatched May 11 to the 3500 block of Guthrie Street for a report of an assault with firearm. Garrion’s mother said she was awakened by a noise in the living room, where Garrion had been watching television and Delgado-Gonzalez had allegedly been sleeping on the couch.
The child was found lying on the floor on his back, bleeding from the mouth, not far from the couch where Delgado-Gonzalez had been sleeping, court records show. When the mother’s boyfriend tried to wake Garrion up, Delgado-Gonzalez allegedly stirred awake and asked what happened.
Garrion’s mother told police she did not believe her son could have shot himself.
Police located a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun on a pile of clothes across from the couch. A spent shell casing was found stuck in the gun.
A computer check showed the weapon used was registered to a person out of South Bend. Police called the person’s guardian and she said the gun had been missing for about three years, but no one reported it stolen.
The boy’s mother told police Garrion “had never touched a real gun” and that she did not allow weapons in her house, according to court records.
Police: Uncle said he was asleep, high
Asked about that night, Delgado-Gonzalez initially told police in an interview he had been in “a (marijuana) coma,” and offered no explanation as to why there was a bullet hole in the couch where he was sleeping, court records show.
No casings or bullets were recovered from Garrion’s body or during a search of the residence, but the couch where Delgado-Gonzalez had been sleeping had damage to the left arm rest consistent with a bullet ricochet.
A red blood smear was located on the right side back cushion of the couch, court records show. A second blood smear was found on the carpet in front of the couch closest to the damaged armrest.
Garrion’s body was found not far from the couch.
There was no indication that a projectile hit the floor where the blood stain was located, and the only indication of a trajectory of the bullet is the damaged left arm rest of the couch.
Based on the wound tract and damage to Garrion's right cheek, the weapon “would have been held against his right cheek in a downward position,” the affidavit stated.
Instagram photos discredit uncle's claim
Delgado-Gonzalez submitted to a gun residue test, which was positive, and then told police he would only talk with an attorney present, according to court records.
Delgado-Gonzalez allegedly later agreed to be interviewed without his attorney, but still denied owning a gun despite police showing him Instagram photos of him holding a gun in that same apartment. A stress test conducted on Delgado-Gonzalez “showed deception,” court records show.
Bloomington, Illinois, police said Delgado-Gonzalez was arrested Dec. 17 in Normal and booked into the McLean County Jail about 3 a.m., The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reported. The Normal Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force and K-9 units from Bloomington and Normal assisted in the arrest.
The boy's uncle had been living there the past month, the mother said.
Crime scene photos taken that night show cartoons were playing on the television.