An 11-year-old child who was home alone watching his 4-year-old sister shot and killed a 16-year-old intruder Thursday afternoon after multiple attempts by the teen to break into the St. Louis County Home.
Authorities are questioning why the children were left home alone with access to the gun, while several neighborhood residents claim, despite physical evidence collected by investigators, that the boy’s account of what transpired is far from the truth.
Authorities believe the teen and another suspect approached the home twice Thursday and on the third time were able to gain access inside the home through the front door. Once the intruders were inside, the 11-year-old boy fired a single shot from his mother’s handgun, striking the 16-year-old once in the head. The other suspect fled from the scene.
Police were called to the home at 2:20 p.m. and found the teen suspect lying in the foyer. He was pronounced dead at the scene and later identified as Lamonte Streeter, who lived just a few blocks away.
The second suspect, who has only been identified at this point as a 22-year-old male, was found a short time later and is now in police custody for suspicion of burglary, reported local media.
Neither the 11-year-old nor his 4-year-old sister were injured. Police questioned the children’s mother, who is said to be fully cooperating with the investigation, on why the children were left home alone with access to the gun.
However, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, only three states have legal age limits for children being left home alone, and Missouri is not one of them. While authorities did not otherwise elaborate on the question at hand, they did confirm the mother bought the gun for personal protection following multiple break-ins at the house.
“Children have access to guns all too often, and all too often they end in tragic circumstances,” said St. Louis County police Sgt. Brian Schellman, referencing an incident last week in another area of the county in which a toddler accidentally shot himself after finding a loaded handgun.
But according to some accounts reported by the Associated Press, several neighbors said there was no home invasion at all and the child shot the teen in cold blood while arguing with him outside of the home.
“It was not a break-in,” said Donna Jackson, 45, who claims to have witnessed the shooting. “He shot him in the head.” Jackson claims the teen was shot at point-blank range while the two talked near the front door.
Jazmyne Clark, 18, told reporters a similar story. “He was never in the house,” Clark said. “He wasn’t breaking in at all. He was just trying to sell him his phone.”
Sharon Taylor also lives next door and is the cousin of the 11-year-old boy’s father. She said she would not consider the boy a troublemaker, but still has her doubts about the boy’s account of what happened because she said a break-in is not likely to happen in broad daylight.
Nonetheless, Schellman confirmed that, although he cannot discuss the specifics of the investigation “physical evidence obtained at the scene indicates the deceased was shot while inside the residence.”
Schellman encouraged anyone with information on the case to contact authorities. The incident remains under investigation.