DEARBORN, Mich. – Two young children were shot by a toddler who found a gun at an in-home day care in Dearborn.
The incident happened around 10:20 a.m. Wednesday. Heartbroken family members were left wondering what happened. The 3-year-old children were rushed to a hospital by officers who responded to a 911 call.
The day care is run by Tim and Samantha Eubanks at their home in the 3600 block of Harding Street on Dearborn's west side. Dearborn police officers were seen taking items that appeared to be long gun or rifle cases out of the home.
Police said Tim Eubanks is a hunter. They didn't disclose what items were removed from the home.
Samantha Eubanks spent the day talking with Dearborn police officers about the incident.
The Dearborn Police Department confirmed it was a toddler, around 2 or 3 years old, who found the weapon inside the house and fired it off.
"We're going to pray that these two young kids are going to be OK," Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad said. "However it shakes out, it's a tragedy for our entire community, and this isn't something that anybody plans to occur. So I would just say that at this time we just want to hope and pray for the best for the young people involved and the rest will take care of itself."
"I'm very shocked," said Jarrett Schmidt, the homeowner's cousin. "I don't know all the details yet, and so I'm kind of blown away right now, because my kid was in that house at one point in time, and so was I. We've gone there for birthday parties, barbecues and so I'm pretty shocked."
There are a number of differing accounts of what goes on inside the home and what the homeowners do.
Children in serious condition
Both of the children shot at the day care were taken to the hospital in critical condition, but have been upgraded to serious condition, Dearborn police said..
When the first ambulance arrived at Children's Hospital, it had an escort of three police cars. Police frantically worked to transport the children, who were taken away in separate ambulances.
Dearborn police blocked off roads to help the ambulances get to the hospital quicker.
There hasn't been any sign of the victims' families, but they are likely with their children.
You can see video of one of the police escorts below:
Toddler pulled trigger of handgun
The combination of guns and children has proven to be a dangerous and deadly mix many times.
Family members of Tim Eubanks told Local 4 he is a hunter. When Dearborn police left the home Wednesday afternoon, they loaded what appeared to be hunting rifle cases and seized other evidence from the scene.
"There was in fact two young children shot," Haddad said. "One 2 years old, one 4 years old."
Haddad said the infant who found the handgun was somehow able to pull the trigger.
The mad scramble to get the injured children to the hospital included police-escorted ambulances. At the scene, the remaining children whose parents knew nothing of the shooting were brought to the Dearborn police station.
Neighbors react to shooting
Neighbor Carolyn Rittenberry was shaken by the incident.
"It's terrible, that's all," Rittenberry said.
She and other neighbors said they complained about the unlicensed day care to no avail.
"I've seem them out in the backyard playing in their diapers, and five or six kids at a time out there, maybe even more, and a lot of times it's just the other -- her older children -- watching them," Rittenberry said.
Neighbor Marilyn Starr had strong words for the homeowners.
"It's appalling," she said. "It's negligence. It's gross negligence. I mean, both of those children could die."
Babysitter's family shares its side of story
As saddened and angry as neighbors were about the children, the family of Tim and Samantha Eubanks also shared its side of the story.
The question facing the family: How did small children have access to a handgun, and how was it fired?
Tim Eubanks' cousin, Jarrett Schmidt, told Local 4 he has allowed Samantha to babysit his daughter before and knows his cousin is a hunter who would never leave weapons for children to find.
"I'd be shocked, because he keeps everything hidden," Schmidt said. "He keeps everything out because he has kids. He's a responsible parent. He's not going to leave stuff laying around."
Samantha Eubanks' sister, Ashley Excobedo showed up at the scene to offer her sister support.
"She does not like guns," Excobedo said. "She is afraid of guns. She's heard stories about this stuff happening, and she would always say her husband hunts on the weekends, and she would always say, 'Don't you even think you're going to bring a gun into this house. It's not going to happen.'"
Excobedo said her sister is the mother of six children who took family and friends' children into her unlicensed day care.
"I'm devastated because that's got to be one of our family friends' children," Excobedo said. "I don't know who it is, and I know my sister, and she would never let it happen to any kids. She's the best person to have ever watched children."
You can hear the comments from family members in the video below:
Dearborn police said they won't update any information on the incident until Thursday morning, so it's unclear if there will be any charges against the Eubanks family.
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