Parents arrested and charged after 5-year-old accidentally shoots toddler brother

Authorities in Indiana have arrested and charged the parents of a 5-year-old boy months after he accidentally shot and killed his toddler brother. Deonta Jermaine Johnson, 27, and Shatia Tiara Welch, 24, from Lafayette, now face multiple charges related to neglect and drug possession. The incident occurred on March 28, when Johnson, the father of the toddler, was asleep on the couch while the 5-year-old obtained a handgun and fatally shot 16-month-old Isiah Johnson. Prosecutors revealed these details in court documents.

Deonta Jermaine Johnson and Shatia Tiara Welch were taken into custody on various charges, including neglect and drug-related offenses. Johnson, who is the father of the toddler, was present in the apartment at the time of the tragic shooting. He had been asleep on the couch when the 5-year-old gained access to a handgun and accidentally shot his younger brother in the head. Court documents indicate that Johnson initially denied having a gun in the apartment but later admitted that Welch owned a handgun kept in the home. Welch, however, was not present during the incident and informed officers that she had a firearm stored in a lockbox under her bed.

Surveillance footage reviewed during the investigation revealed Johnson leaving the apartment and placing an item inside a parked car just moments before the police arrived in response to the 911 call. Subsequently, officers discovered approximately 400 grams of marijuana in the car, leading to an additional charge of obstruction of justice against Johnson. Toxicology results indicated that the toddler had marijuana in his system, while his older brother tested positive for cocaine. Furthermore, officers found around 93 fentanyl pills within reach of the 5-year-old boy, as well as a metal grinder containing marijuana residue that was located in the dining room.