Babysitter arrested after 5-year-old fatally shot by 6-year-old cousin

Published 10:43 am Saturday, January 21, 2023

By Doris Maricle

AMERICAN PRESS

Two arrests have been made in the shooting death of a 5-year-old boy by his 6-year-old cousin while left with a babysitter Thursday.

Police say the shooting happened around 5:30 p.m. Thursday at a residence in the 600 block of Gallup Street in Jennings.

Upon officers arrival, they discovered the 5-year-old had been shot in the torso by his 6-year-old cousin while the children were playing with a 9 mm handgun they found inside the residence.

The child, identified as Adaun Gaines, died an hour later at Ochsner American Legion Hospital as a result of his injuries, according to Police Chief Danny Semmes.

Through witness statements and initial investigation, police learned that the victim, along with five other children, aged 3-6, were left at the residence with a 26-year-old male babysitter. The children are all believed to be cousins and students at Jennings Elementary School.

None of the other children were harmed.

The mother of the victim was at work, while the mother of the shooter was out with her boyfriend, Semmes said. The two women are related and lived together in the house with their children, he said.

“What we can figure out through interviews, is that they were being babysat by this 26-year-old male and there was a gun in the house and the children found the gun in the house while they were playing,” Semmes said. “One of the children pointed the gun at the other child and pulled the trigger and shot him.”

“The babysitter heard the pop, went in and the little boy ran into the front living room and laid down on the couch,” Semmes continued. “The babysitter then apparently took the time to hide some drugs and the gun under the front  porch before he went down the street to get a neighbor to call the police.”

Police believe 10-15 minutes may have elapsed from the time of the shooting before police were called.

The gun is believed to belong to a resident of the house and not the babysitter, but the babysitter knew the gun was in the house, Semmes said. The babysitter did not live at the residence, but frequently babysat the children for the two women who live at the residence.

“The babysitter had called the mother of the child and either had a bad connection, or she couldn’t hear,” Semmes said. “All she could hear was screaming in the background. That’s when he went down the street to get somebody to call for him instead of just going outside just real quick. He should have called 911.”

The babysitter, identified as Desome Daniels, 26, of Jennings was arrested Friday on charges of principal to negligent homicide, five counts of cruelty to a juvenile, five counts of improper supervision of minors and two counts of obstruction of justice. He also faces five counts of a controlled dangerous substance in the presence of minors and possession of a stolen firearm.

The mother of the shooter, Kurstin Richard, is facing charges of principal to negligent homicide, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Semmes said police have dealt with Richard in the past for firearm violations.

He said the incident was traumatic for officers, first responders and medical staff at the hospital.“It was a traumatic situation for all my officers, the first responders and every nurse and doctor at the hospital,” he said. “This is not something that happens every day. It’s hard for everybody involved to deal with.”

Counseling was being made available Friday for all officers and first responders involved in the investigation, including those who performed CPR on the victim.

Semmes commended his officers for their professional job and thanked Welsh Police Chief Marcus Crochet and Assistant Police Chief Chris Myers who helped process the crime scene and secure the scene.

This is the second incident of a child being shot in Jennings in less than a year.

Last summer, a 3-year-old child allegedly shot himself in the pelvic area with a gun he found.

The child survived.Semmes urges parents to keep guns safe and out of children’s reach.

“We live in Southwest Louisiana and almost every home has a gun in it,” he said. “This is a different situation because it was a stolen gun and it shouldn’t have been in the house at all to begin with. You have to keep your firearms locked away out of the reach of children.”

In addition he said those with firearms in the house need to monitor and know who you allow to stay with your children.