A Philadelphia man who allegedly fatally shot his young daughter while carelessly brandishing a gun around in a room full of children tried to pin the blame on his 5-year-old daughter.
Maurice Phillips, 30, is charged with involuntary manslaughter, third-degree murder, child endangerment and reckless endangerment and other related counts on Sunday, after he turned himself in to the police for the shooting death of Tahirah Phillips, 4. Before he was charged, Phillips told the police his 5-year-old daughter pulled the trigger.
Phillips was at home with his seven children, watching TV and playing in his bedroom when the gun went off, according to Capt. James Clark of the Philadelphia Police homicide division. The bullet hit his daughter, Tahirah, on the back of the head and killed her instantly.
“We don't believe that he intended that to happen but because of his grossly negligent acts, this is ultimately what happened,” Clark said.
Phillips then allegedly hit Tahirah’s 5-year-old sister with a fist and smeared her shirt with blood in order to frame her for the act. Police said he then carried his daughter’s body to the bedroom, called his fiancée and told her to come home. When she arrived, he changed his clothes and fled the scene.
On Sunday, Phillips turned himself in and confessed he was responsible for the death of the 4-year-old girl.
A small memorial was held outside the home after the shooting. Rachel Santana, a neighbor, who is friends with the girl’s mother, Tera Riddick, said she comforted the mother who was in shock and said she was aware some people kept weapons in the house.
“Some people know that it's wrong, but we live in such a bad society, especially here. It's really bad around here," said Santana. "People feel that they need to protect themselves at all costs, and it was just a tragic accident that happened.”
But Capt. Clark is not so understanding.
"It was a stupid, idiotic act. He was completely reckless in doing this and, unfortunately, a 4-year-old lost her life," he said.