13-year-old boy charged with fatal shooting of 5-year-old brother in Pennsylvania

·2 min read
Police say they’ve arrested Keegan McGivern, 13, over the shooting death of his 5-year-old brother  (Getty Images)
Police say they’ve arrested Keegan McGivern, 13, over the shooting death of his 5-year-old brother (Getty Images)

A 13-year-old boy has been charged with homicide after police say he fatally shot his own 5-year-old brother.

On 22 November, police in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania received a call about a shooting incident at a house on Prescott Drive. When they got to the scene, they found four unsupervised children, one of them bleeding from a gunshot wound. The boy was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Then police began investigating, which finally led them to the victim’s older brother.

“It was later discovered, through the investigative process, that the 13-year-old pointed the firearm at his 5-year-old sibling and pulled the trigger while believing that the safety was on,” the Allegheny County Police Department said. “Based on the sequence of events, statements from individuals involved, and consultation with the district attorney’s office, the 13-year-old juvenile will be charged with a general count of homicide.”

Keegan McGivern, 13, was arrested on 14 December, after his grandmother brought him to Allegheny County Police headquarters, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. He has been charged with criminal homicide and possession of a firearm by a minor.

According to the criminal complaint, Keegan told police that on the day of the shooting, he was angry at his siblings for jumping on a bed and not stopping when he told them to cut it out. Wanting to scare them, he picked up his father’s Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol, which had been left loose in the room, and pointed it at Connor.

“He stated he pulled the trigger out of anger but couldn’t recall exactly what he was angry about at the moment,” the charging document says.

Keegan is being charged as an adult, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office has said, because in Pennsylvania, a homicide charge cannot be brought in juvenile court.

“What happened in Penn Hills was an intentional act that resulted in the tragic death of a 5-year-old,” the DA’s office said in a statement.

Police have also said the children’s parents are partly to blame, and may face charges as well.

“Detectives determined that four children (ages 13, 6, 5, and 3) were left unsupervised while a loaded and unsecured handgun was left within the reach of each child,” the Allegheny police pointed out in their statement. “Detectives are also conferring with prosecutors to determine the level of parental culpability, for which criminal charges are anticipated.”

Police encourage anyone with information on the shooting to call the Allegheny County Police Tip line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS (1-833-255-8477) or send in a tip via the department’s social media.

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