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Grandmother charged in “accidental shooting” that left child in grave condition

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- FOX6 News has learned the grandmother of a four-year-old who was seriously injured after he was shot in an "accidental shooting" incident near N. 45th and Locust on March 19th has been charged in the case.

48-year-old Renee Smith of Milwaukee has been charged with one count of leaving/storing a loaded firearm near a child -- a misdemeanor.

Police have said the four-year-old shot himself in this case.

Officers were dispatched to the 2900 block of N. 45th Street just after 5:00 p.m. on March 19th -- where they observed numerous people on the front porch screaming for the paramedics.

Officers entered the home, and discovered the four-year-old boy lying on a bed. A citizen witness was holding the boy and calling for help.

The criminal complaint indicates the boy had a bullet hole in his forehead. He was breathing and his eyes were slightly open, but an officer could not find a pulse and started chest compressions on the boy until the Milwaukee Fire Department arrived on scene and took over.

The boy was transported to Children's Hospital by ambulance.

The complaint says an officer discovered a black revolver on the bed.

The complaint says officers interviewed Smith, who told officers prior to the shooting, she was in the back bedroom, sitting in a chair watching television. Smith told officials four children were in the room. One of them was asleep on the bed, and the others were playing with matchbox cars on the bedroom floor.

The complaint says Smith told officials she observed all three children pop up immediately, and then go back down to the floor where they had been playing. That's when Smith says she heard a "loud bang," followed by two of the children popping up a second time.

Smith identified the shooting victim as her grandson, for whom she was responsible for providing care at the time of the shooting.

The complaint says Smith admitted to holding onto the firearm involved in the shooting for another individual. She said she kept the firearm in a shoebox underneath the bed.

The complaint indicates officials spoke with a man named Jake Smith, who lives at the residence where the shooting occurred. He said he was preparing dinner when the shooting occurred.

The complaint says Jake Smith initially told officials he had no knowledge there was a gun inside the residence, but later admitted to seeing the revolver in the residence about a month ago.

The complaint says Jake Smith told officials he spoke with Renee Smith about the gun. He says she told him she was keeping the firearm for protection -- as she had been the victim of a home invasion months ago.

However, the complaint says Renee Smith told officials she was holding onto the gun for another individual -- and had had the gun for about three weeks. Smith told officials she didn't know whether the children knew of the gun underneath the bed, according to the complaint.

The complaint says officials spoke with a man who told them he had sold the firearm to Renee Smith six to eight months ago for $300. That man told officials Smith wanted the gun for protection. The man said when he sold the gun, there were five bullets inside, according to the complaint.

If convicted in this case, Renee Smith could face a maximum of nine months in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

As of March 20th, the four-year-old boy remained in grave condition at Children's Hospital. We are told he is doing better.

FOX6 News stopped by Smith's home on Tuesday, April 1st. A woman claiming to be Smith said she was unaware of any charges filed against her.

"The grandmother is just overwhelmed right now," community activist Tracey Dent said.

Dent says Smith is focusing on her grandson's health.

"It's just something you never thought would happen, did happen.  That's why it's important we learn from this. It could have been prevented. Like I said, accidents happen," Dent said.


  • cynic

    Stupid comes with a price, this was 100% avoidable. A safe, box, or high shelf would have done the trick. She should get a hole in HER head. Prayers for the kid.

  • Dream Catcher

    Yes she was neglectful with not locking up the gun properly but to say she should get a bullet in her head is crazy. This was obviously a horrible accident. My thoughts and prayers are with their family and friends.

    • cynic

      Claiming it was all accidental takes away a large piece of responsibility for the woman. It was 100% preventable and willful negligence. If you have a loaded gun where children who are either too young can gain access, or old enough but untrained, then you are just begging for an “accident.” If she left a can of Comet cleaner on the table and the kid ate it and died, would that be an accident, or negligence because she didn’t put it where the kid couldn’t get it? What if she didn’t put a baby gate at the top of a stair case and the kid fell and broke his neck? Negligence or accident? It is irresponsible, and the kid is paying the price.

  • Tania

    A loaded gun under the bed in a shoebox. At least 4 small kids in the same room as the gun………praying for all involved in this senseless shooting of this boy. Kids will be kids and some adults just don’t get it!

  • Sheila Moyet

    What kind of person leaves children playing in a room with a gun in a shoe box under the bed while she is in another room watching television!?! Where are the parenting skills or just plane common sense???

  • Shawn

    I am a ccw instructor and as part of my class we emphasize the importance of kids and guns and if a kid or anyone a kid would injure with your gun is your responsability in the eyes of the law and there is a state statue as such going back before ccw even exisited and she is lucky she is only getting 9 months how ever a interesting tid bit for you our Govenor got away without any jail time for a kid that died on his up north property when his under age son had a party with liqueur and one boy decided he would spin a gun on his finger like hop a long casidy and accidently killed another boy now techniquely if walker was not the govenor he too would have to spend time in jail and be fined but instead it was swept away look it up though i found it while looking up questions in criminal justice ccw section last year y

  • maria z

    So this is a misdemeanor? Really? This should be a felony and the dumb bimbo should be locked up at least 5-10 years and NO contact with any children.

  • Jason W.

    Where are all the liberals blaming the NRA, conservatives and the Tea Party? Opps, wait a minute . . .

  • Jeanette

    Very sad. This avoidable mistake is going to cause a lifetime of damage for this family. Even if the grandmother does not serve any prison time, her conscious will destroy her. I am going to pray for her sanity and mental health following this incident as well as her grandson’s life and hopefully a full recovery.

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