DEARBORN, Mich. – A Michigan couple are charged connection with the shooting of two 3-year-old children at an unlicensed daycare in Dearborn.
Timothy Eubanks, 32, and his wife, Samantha Eubanks, also 32, both of Dearborn, face several charges. Timothy faces six counts of second-degree child abuse. Samantha Eubanks was charged with 12 counts of second-degree child abuse and two counts of felony firearms violations.
"I will continue to state emphatically and often that it is extremely dangerous to have firearms in a home accessible to children," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said. "It is alleged that, in this case, the defendants' home was a day care center with firearms that were accessible and two very young children were seriously injured. It is an understatement to say that this cannot and should not ever be tolerated."
Both are expected to be arraigned Thursday.
The daycare is run by Tim and Samantha Eubanks at their home in the 3600 block of Harding Street on Dearborn's west side.
The shooting happened at about 10:20 a.m. Sept. 27.
The Dearborn Police Department confirmed it was a toddler who found the weapon inside the house and fired it off. Prosecutors say the shooter was the Eubanks' 3-year-old son.
"It's a tragedy for our entire community, and this isn't something that anybody plans to occur," Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad said.
Prosecutors allege the Eubanks' knowingly left two handguns unsecured in an upstairs bedroom while running an unlicensed daycare. At the time of the shooting, Samantha Eubanks was watching six children: three 3-year-olds, two 1-year-olds and a 4-month-old.
The Eubanks' three older children were at school at the time of the shooting. All of their six children were removed from the home and placed with relatives.
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.
"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 but stable condition, Dearborn police said.
One of the boys was shot in the shoulder and is recovering.
Another child was shot in the face at the unlicensed daycare. Sources said the child lost an eye and has undergone several surgeries.
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.
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.
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.
Victim's grandmother reacts to shooting
One of the child's grandmother spoke to Local 4 after the shooting. She said she is furious that there were guns unlocked in the home.
"With all the education about gun safety, why didn't they know to lock their guns up. Why? Who doesn't know to use a gun lock with children around?" said the grandmother of one of the young children shot.
Dearborn police found several weapons inside the home where the Eubanks operated the daycare.
"My hope is he grows up and can forget what happened and what he witnessed," his grandmother said. "I'm worried about the image they saw."
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:
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