Police say 3-year-old boy fatally shot on Detroit's east side was playing with gun

Mother's boyfriend turns himself into police

DETROIT – Police said a 3-year-old boy who was fatally shot Wednesday night at a home in the 11700 block of Rossiter Street in Detroit was playing with a gun.

He was shot about 7 p.m. and rushed to St. John Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police questioned the mother's boyfriend, Demetrius Lorenzo Peals, who turned himself in Thursday morning after police announced he is considered a person of interest.

Police said the 3-year-old was playing with Peals' gun when it went off, fatally wounding him.

Police: Boyfriend ran out with child in arms

Assistant Detroit police Chief Arnold Williams said the child was shot in the face. Williams said emergency medical officials were at the scene of a body that was found in the 11000 block of Morang Avenue when Peals ran out of an apartment building across the street with a child in his arms.

Police said Peals gave the child to the officials, who realized the child had a gunshot wound on his face. Officials took the boy to St. John Hospital in critical condition, but the child died from his injuries.

Peals was not seen after he passed the child off to medical officials, but he turned himself into police the next morning. 

"It's senseless," Williams said. "There's no reason for any child to lose their lives. This should never happen. It should never happen. It's inexcusable."

Police originally were called to the scene to investigate a body that had been found across the street from the shooting. It's unclear if that person's death was suspicious or natural, but Williams said the child was able to get to the hospital quickly only because medical officials were already right across the street.

Police: Mother said shots fired during neighbors' conflict

Williams said the mother told police there was a conflict between neighbors and the gunshot was fired from outside the apartment building, but officers didn't find evidence of shots fired from outside.

Williams said police believe the shot was fired inside the home. The mother was in the home with Peals, the 3-year-old and a 1-year-old child. Police believe the mother and the 1-year-old child were in another room when Peals ran outside with the victim.

No weapon was found inside the home. 

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