When authorities responded to the Philadelphia home on Thursday afternoon, they discovered a young child who had been shot, according to police.

The victim was just a toddler, police say.

And the person who investigators say pulled the trigger wasn’t much older. Authorities say the 2-year-old boy was shot by his 4-year-old cousin, who was apparently playing with the gun before it discharged, according to reports.

“The mother was preparing Thanksgiving dinner when the two kids were playing with the gun,” Chief Inspector Scott Small told reporters, according to the Philadelphia Media Network.

Rachel Santiago and Omar Laboy-Vega are now facing criminal charges in connection with the incident, the Philadelphia Police Department said in a statement. Local outlets reported that Santiago and Laboy-Vega, both 34, are the 2-year-old’s mother and father, though police did not respond to a message from The Washington Post seeking to confirm that Friday evening.


The shooting happened about 4:20 p.m. Thursday, according to police. Officers who arrived at the scene discovered that the 2-year-old had gunshot wounds to his chest and finger.

“Preliminary investigation reveals that the complainant was shot by his 4-year-old cousin,” police said in the statement, which noted that the investigation was still ongoing.

The injured boy was rushed to a hospital, then transferred to another medical facility. He was listed in critical but stable condition, police said.

“Our main concern, of course, is for the 2-year-old,” Small told a CBS affiliate, “but also we want to know how this 4-year-old was able to get ahold of this gun that was loaded.”


Two handguns were collected from the home where the shooting occurred. Small told the CBS affiliate that he didn’t think the 4-year-old “realizes what happened.”


The Philadelphia Media Network spoke with a neighbor, 49-year-old Sonia Pizarro, who described what unfolded after she arrived home about 10 minutes after the shooting.

The Media Network reported:

After she got out of her car, she said, a police officer was carrying the 2-year-old boy, whom Pizarro knows by his first name of Javier, into a police car.
The boy’s father then ran out of the two-story brick rowhouse, hysterical.
“My baby, my baby, my baby,” the man screamed, with tears coming down his face, Pizarro recalled.

Santiago has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child and related offenses, police said. Laboy-Vega also faces that charge, in addition to others.

The Philadelphia shooting comes just days after a Louisiana mother was arrested after her 2-year-old son shot his younger sister in the face.


So far this year, more than 600 children younger than 12 have been killed or injured in incidents that involved guns, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks data on shootings. And recently, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence released a public service ad that focused on gun-related deaths involving toddlers who got a hold of firearms.


“It’s time we did something,” the satirical video notes. “We need to lock them up. Not the guns — that’s just un-American. The toddlers. Round them up. Deport them. Get them out of our country. And keep them away from our guns.”