Man charged in boy's shooting death

August 13, 2009 3:51:49 PM PDT
Charges have been filed in connection with the accidental shooting death of an 11-year-old boy. The boy died Wednesday evening after he and his two brothers began playing with a gun which they found in a backpack. Now the mother's boyfriend has been arrested. Neighbors and friends have left a small memorial in front of the family's home to remember an 11-year-old boy everyone describes as funny, outgoing and spirited.

Kristopher McKenzie, 9, already misses his basketball buddy, a friend he called "Tutu." "He was a nice friend," recalled Kristoperh. "He was always good. He never was bad."

His friend, La Torric Watson, died Wednesday night after being shot in the head. Police say it was an accident and that the boy and his brother were playing with the gun before it went off.

Neighbor Delisia Harris said, "We heard loud screaming and next thing you know the door flew open and they were all running out. They were bloody."

Harris took in the boy's two brothers, ages 13 and 10, while investigators searched the house and questioned witnesses. The boys' mother and her boyfriend were home at the time. The boyfriend, Ronnie Dewayne Brown, 23, is arrested, charged with tampering with evidence. HPD wouldn't go into further detail about exactly why they've charged Brown.

Harris says she spoke with the boys' mother after the accident.

She said, "As a mom she just feels like it was her fault."

Two relatives drove by the house but declined to comment on camera saying through their tears that they were too upset to talk. A Child Protective Services worker also showed up at the family's house, but left when no one answered the door.

Harris says the boys' mother bought a gun to protect her children.

"There's been a lot of break-ins in this neighborhood," Harris explained. "There was actually a person who got killed in their driveway."

But as young Kristopher has learned, there is no protection from a weapon this powerful.

"Never play with guns," he said. "I never mess with them."

According to KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy, there is no state law that parents must adhere to when they have guns and children at home. He says that is just ruled by common sense.

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