Boy, 4, fatally shot on Youngstown’s North Side

Youngstown murder

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Three handguns were found inside the room where a 4-year-old boy was fatally shot.

Reports said the boy, Ray-twon Briggs, 4, died after being shot at about 11 p.m. Sunday in the 400 block of Fairgreen Avenue. The Mahoning County Coroner said Monday Briggs died of a perforating gunshot wound to the head and died within seconds of being shot.

“There is equally sufficient evidence from the scene and autopsy to suggest either an accident or homicide,” a statement from the coroner’s office said. Coroner’s investigators will refrain from ruling the manner of the death until the investigation is completed, the statement said.

The boy’s grandmother told police the boy was playing with one of the guns and fatally shot himself through the head while two other children, ages 1 and 5, were inside the room with Briggs.

Police Chief Rod Foley said the children accessed loaded guns in a 26-year-old man’s room. He said investigators are trying to determine who owned the guns.

The grandmother told 911 dispatchers the kids were playing in the room and a found a gun. The woman pleads for help while children scream in the background.

Officers noted finding two guns in the room and a third with a bullet casing under a bed. Gunshot residue tests were performed on everyone at the home, which could determine who fired the gun.

Police also found what they described as drug paraphernalia inside the home but are unsure who it belonged to.

The boy’s mother and father were not at the home at the time of the shooting and showed up later, reports said.

The parents and the boy’s grandmother were questioned by police. Police Chief Rod Foley said the shooting appears accidental but investigators are treating it as a homicide.

“So we’re working with the theory right now that it was probably accidental but we got a long way to go yet until we can say that for sure,” Foley said.

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