KALKASKA — Kalkaska County Sheriff’s investigators continue to probe the circumstances leading to a fatal shooting Monday of a 5-year-old boy at a home in Rapid River Township.
Sheriff Pat Whiteford said authorities are piecing together the activities of the day, but they know the killed child was shot in the head with a 9 mm pistol by another of the eight children found inside the rural home. Deputies rushed to the shooting scene at 11:50 a.m. to find only children between ages five and 15 years in the house, he said.
Parents of the children were elsewhere, Whiteford said.
“There’s still a lot of stuff going on even late into the evening here regarding what happened,” the sheriff said late Monday night.
Authorities interviewed the children at the scene throughout the day, Whiteford said, but as of 9 p.m. Monday had not yet interviewed the parents of the deceased child. He said the fatal shooting is a suspected accident, but the incident remains under investigation to determine the exact sequence of events.
Whiteford said the older children in the house were meant to be watching the younger ones when the fatal shooting happened. And although a 9 mm handgun is suspected in the shooting, he confirmed another couple of firearms were additionally confiscated from the scene as possible evidence.
The boy’s body was sent to a downstate hospital for a forensic autopsy.
Whiteford said the surviving children in the home initially seemed “resilient,” though he’s been assured by experts that sentiment will fade as they process this traumatic event.
The sheriff said Kalkaska emergency medical responders attempted to revive the boy at the scene, but the boy’s head wound proved fatal.
Local authorities requested crime scene assistance from Michigan State Police forensic investigators, confirmed Lt. Derrick Carroll.
Whiteford said final investigative reports from the fatal shooting will be forwarded to Kalkaska County Prosecutor Mike Perreault for review.
Research shows that one in three homes with guns also have children in the home, according to the University of Michigan Health’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The hospital additionally reported firearm injuries are among the top four causes of death for children between ages 10 and 24 years, with homicide by firearm a leading cause of death in children from ages 1 to 9 years old.