CHICAGO (SUN TIMES MEDIA WIRE) - A man who faced charges after his 6-year-old son found a loaded gun and accidentally fatally shot his 3-year-old brother in the head last year in their Humboldt Park home has been sentenced to probation.
Michael Santiago, 26, pleaded guilty Monday to endangering the life or health of a child before Judge Alfredo Maldonado, according to Cook County court records.
Santiago bought a revolver to protect himself after the former gang member was tagged with the dangerous label of “snitch” because he testified at the murder trial of another gang member, prosecutors said last year. He did not have a concealed carry license or an FOID card.
Santiago’s 6-year-old son got his hands on the gun in the family’s apartment in the 1000 block of North Francisco just after 9 p.m. on Oct. 17, 2015, and accidentally shot his 3-year-old brother as the toddler ate a bowl of macaroni and cheese, authorities said.
The boys were under the supervision of their grandfather, who was in an upstairs apartment when he heard the shot.
The grandfather carried Eian H. Santiago from the family’s apartment in the 1000 block of North Francisco about a block to Norwegian American Hospital. Eian was later transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Santiago warned his elder son that the Smith & Wesson .32-caliber revolver — bundled in a pair of pajama pants atop the refrigerator in the family’s garden apartment in Humboldt Park — was to be handled “only by adults,” prosecutors said.
Police said the boy was playing cops and robbers.
Judge Maldonado sentenced Santiago to two years probation, according to court records. He was released on bond in the days following the shooting.