On Sept. 27, a 3-year-old was with two other children in the unlicensed day care at his house when he found his father’s gun in an upstairs bedroom and shot two other toddlers — one in the shoulder and the other in the face. Both children were rushed to the hospital in critical condition and are now recovering, but the young shooter’s parents are now facing criminal charges.
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Samantha Eubanks and her husband, Timothy, were charged on Wednesday — Samantha faces 12 counts of second-degree child abuse and two counts of felony firearm while Timothy will see six counts of second-degree child abuse, The Washington Post reports. Both parents are 32 years old, and in their Thursday arraignment, Judge Gene Hunt ordered them to have contact with the victims or their families, no possession of firearms and no unsupervised contact with children.
Hunt told the Dearborn, Michigan, couple, “The allegations, in this case, have set forth a tremendous tragedy. And the tragedy, although not intentional, was the result of reckless disregard for the safety of the children,” the Detroit Free Press reports. Prosecutor Kim Worthy declared, “I will continue to state emphatically and often that it is extremely dangerous to have firearms in a home accessible to children…It is an understatement to say that this cannot and should not ever be tolerated.”
In a Thursday press conference captured by WDIV, Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said that both toddlers will require “long-term care.” He noted, “The fact that the weapon was in proximity where someone very small could get it is totally unacceptable,” and stressed the importance of exercising gun safety.
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The Eubankses are parents to six children, three of whom were in the home at the time of the shooting. The other three were at school. All of their kids are currently staying with other family members. Haddad said that he is still “deeply troubled” by the incident and pointed out that the toddler obviously knew how to fire the weapon.
Worthy stated that two handguns were left out in the open in the Eubanks’s second-floor bedroom. After the shooting, police blocked roads so the ambulances responding to the shooting were able to make it to the hospital quicker, WDIV reports.
While the children are expected to recover, the toddler who was shot in the face will lose one of his eyes.
Neighbors say that they have complained about the unlicensed day care before. Some saying that they’ve seen children playing in the front yard with only older children supervising them. Samantha’s relatives told WXYZ that she hates guns and said that they were surprised to learn that her husband had firearms in the house. Timothy’s cousin told the station that he generally keeps everything hidden and that they were surprised to learn that he had his firearms in the open.
The investigation began quickly after the incident and authorities said that the Eubankses cooperated. Because of their cooperation, prosecutors recommended low bonds and Samantha and Timothy were both released on $20,000 bond but were ordered not to leave the state and to surrender their passports.