The 22-year-old man charged with shooting a 3-year-old Brooklyn boy in the head denies the allegations, loves the child and often babysat for him, his lawyer says.
Akeem Bernard, who lives in the same building as the little boy, was charged Sunday with assault, criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child, among other offenses, following the Saturday morning shooting that left little Tharell Edward bleeding from the head.
Edward's mother was out and an acquaintance was watching him when he was shot in his second-floor Flatbush apartment around 3 a.m. Officials said the boy was hit on the left side of his head.
The Brooklyn district attorney's office says Bernard showed a gun to the mother's roommate shortly before the boy was hit, then put it in a shoebox. A court complaint says the roommate heard a gunshot and found the boy bleeding in Bernard's arms.
Prosecutors say the suspect told the roommate to delay calling 911 so he could "stash the gun."
Bernard's attorney, Nelson Schmukler, says not of that is true, and his client loves the boy.
Edward remains hospitalized in stable condition. Neighbors described him as a sweet child, and lamented the fact that someone so young was hurt by a gunshot.
"A 3-year-old should not be worried about getting shot," said James Nicholas, who lives nearby. "A 3-year-old should be running around chasing little kids like them."