A Philadelphia father who shot and killed his 4-year-old daughter allegedly tried to pin the crime on his 5-year-old, officials said.
Maurice Phillips, 30, did not intend to kill his 4-year-old daughter on April 16.
Phillips was in the family’s home with his fiancée and seven children, who were watching television, and Phillips started “carelessly and recklessly waving and pointing the gun around in the room,” said Philadelphia Police Homicide Capt. James Clark during a news conference on Monday.
His carelessness of the weapon resulted in him shooting 4-year-old Tahirah Phillips in the head on Saturday afternoon.
“The gun discharged one time, striking his daughter in the back of the head, killing her instantly,” Clark said.
According to The New York Times, Phillips was charged Monday with third-degree homicide, reckless endangerment, and related counts.
After a 911 call was placed, in the midst of waiting, Phillips walked over to his 5-year-old daughter, punched her, and wiped blood from his hand onto her shirt, the New York Times reported—which led police to believe he was trying to frame the child.
“He went as far as to punish the 5-year-old to show how much he felt that she did this,” Clark told The Associated Press.
Phillips, who fled the crime scene, eventually turned himself in, hours after the shooting—although at first, he denied responsibility for the crime.
“He just showed up,” said Officer Tanya Little, a police spokeswoman. “He obviously knew that we would be after him.”
The victim’s mother, Tera, is emotionally broken, said close friend Sheena Coles, on April 19, according to the New York Times.
“Tahirah was a sweet little girl,” Coles said, “an innocent, beautiful little girl.”
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Phillips on May 4.