A tragic gun accident claimed the life of a 4-year-old girl in Philadelphia this past weekend. Police initially reported that Tahirah Phillips was shot in the face by her 5-year-old brother. Now after further investigation the story has taken a tragic and shameful turn. It is now being reported that the girl was actually shot by her father, Maurice “Stefon” Phillips, 30, who fled the scene after the shooting.
Philadelphia police arrested Phillips after he turned himself in and confessed that he was playing with the gun when the weapon fired, striking the girl in the face. She was pronounced dead at the scene. He stated that the 5-year-old boy had nothing to do with the tragic accident.
The little girl lived at the home with her mother, Phillips and five siblings that included three sisters and two brothers, ranging in age from seven months to 13-years-old. Neighbors have stated that the mother, Tera Riddick, was very protective of her children because of the level of crime in the neighborhood. It is stated that she very rarely let her children play outside the home and is quoted as stating once, “I’m not bringing these kids out here with all this trouble.” Family and friends of the victim described her as a well liked and pleasant child who enjoyed playing with her Barbie dolls.
Police are also looking at the Facebook page of Phillips that displayed a handgun believed to be the weapon used in the shooting as well as other pictures of an assault weapon. Charges against Phillips include third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter for the death of the little girl in what is widely being described as a tragic accident due to senseless and irresponsible gun play as well as endangering the welfare of children, possession of an instrument of crime and recklessly endangering another person.
The Kensington neighborhood is known as the “gun grid” by police because of its high rate of violent crimes. According to police statistics, the Philadelphia neighborhood reported 60 violent crimes last month alone.