Michael Santiago, 25, is under arrest for felony child endangerment after his 6-year-old son accidentally shot and killed his 3-year-old brother. Santiago kept the .32-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver fully loaded on top of the refrigerator.
The boys were reportedly playing “cops and robbers” when the gun went off. Their grandfather was watching them but was upstairs at the time. Santiago is a former gang member who said that he had the gun (purchased illegally off the street) to protect himself after testifying against a fellow gang member. Santiago, a manager at a Papa Ray’s Pizza restaurant, is being held on $75,000 bond.
Santiago appears to have been working hard after leaving the gang — putting in six days a week at the pizza restaurant.
The combination of the illegal purchase and the endangerment allegation could result in serious time for Santiago. The question is whether a court should consider the loss of the child in reducing the sentence. Santiago is described as a loving father who did a terribly stupid and reckless thing. Given the loss of the child, do you think that serious jail time is warranted?