MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee father charged after a 2-year-old child was shot by his 4-year-old brother in July 2018 was sentenced to prison Tuesday, April 2.
Joshua Walls, 27, in February pleaded guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor — leave/store loaded firearm near child and felony bail jumping. In court on Tuesday, he was sentenced to serve 15 months in prison and 15 months extended supervision on the bail jumping conviction, and nine months in the House of Correction on the misdemeanor conviction — to be served concurrently.
The incident happened July 21, 2018 near 18th and North. Prosecutors said this wasn’t the first time he put these children in harm’s way.
According to a criminal complaint, police responded to Children’s Hospital after learning that a 2-year-old boy had been shot in the foot by his 4-year-old brother.
Investigators spoke with the mother of both children, who said she was sleeping in her bedroom with the children when, around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., Walls, the father of the 2-year-old child, called and asked her to unlock the door, which she did, before going back to bed. A short while later, she said she heard Walls talking with a man known as “Dre.” She said she woke up when she heard Walls screaming. He said “Shank shot Fatty, and kept repeating it,” the complaint said. The mother asked Walls where the 4-year-old got a gun, and Walls said he had it behind a cable box. He said it was “Dre’s gun” and “because Dre was drunk, he took the gun and put it behind the cable box.”
The 4-year-old told investigators he “shot his brother on accident.” He said the day before the shooting, Walls “had a knife, gun and drugs at the house,” describing the drugs as “pills, weed and blunts.” He said the 2-year-old had “grabbed the gun from behind the cable box and handed it to him” while his mom and Walls were sleeping.
At the home near 18th and North, investigators found a black handgun with an extended magazine, loaded with one round in the chamber and an additional 30 rounds in the extended capacity magazine. Next to it, they found a plastic bag with suspected marijuana and a prescription pill bottle with suspected crack cocaine. A spent casing was found under the bed in the bedroom. The complaint said the substances were tested, and tested positive for cocaine and THC.
The complaint said the bullet went through the carpet and bedroom floor, and a fired projectile was found in the basement.
It was determined the 2-year-old sustained a gunshot wound to the top of his left foot. He had to have surgery to clean the wound.
The complaint said investigators spoke with “Dre,” who said he was with Walls and they were drinking. He said he left his firearm with Walls “because he didn’t want to have it while he was driving.” He said he’s a CCW permit holder and bought it at Farm and Fleet.
The complaint notes that Walls was charged in a case out of Racine County, filed in January 2018. He faces three counts of second degree recklessly endangering safety and one count of misdemeanor battery. In that case, he was ordered to have no contact with the 2-year-old, the 4-year-old and the children’s mother. The conditions of his $1,000 cash bond in that case were in effect at the time of this new alleged crime.
According to a criminal complaint in that case, Walls, on Jan. 11, 2018 in Mount Pleasant, was driving a vehicle with the children and their mother as passengers. That vehicle was found “nose first” in a ditch on the north side of County Highway C. Walls was seen “handling” the mother, who “had a look of terror on her face.”
The mother said they had come to the Racine County Jail from Milwaukee “to post her mother’s bond.” On the way, she said Walls driving with the window open and the heat on the lowest setting. When they arrived at the jail, Walls went to pay the bond and left the vehicle running with the heat low. She said it was “very cold” in the vehicle and one of the children said he was cold. The mother said she moved into the driver’s seat and turned up the heat, and when Walls returned, he was “very upset and began yelling and kicking the vehicle,” which belonged to her mother. She said she locked the doors and told her sons not to let Walls inside, but he eventually convinced one of the children to unlock the door. She said he then grabbed her by her neck and pulled her from the vehicle, before a scuffle ensued. She said she was punched in the head several times, and a bystander came to her aid.
The complaint said visible injuries were noted on the mother.
She said Walls was “driving on County Highway C so fast he had difficulty keeping the vehicle under control.” She said she pleaded with him to stop driving so recklessly with the children in the vehicle, but this had no effect on him. She said he eventually lost control of the vehicle and slammed on the brakes so hard one of her son’s heads snapped forward, and the vehicle ended up in the ditch.
Walls has a jury trial scheduled to begin in August in that case.