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Police charge mother of 4-year-old girl who died from gunshot to head

Robert Moran, Julie Shaw, Stephanie Farr, STAFF WRITERS

Updated: Saturday, June 25, 2016, 9:29 AM

Shakeya Holmes, seen here with her 4-year-old daughter, who fatally shot herself Thursday. Holmes was arrested and charged with third-degree murder.

Philadelphia police Friday charged the mother of a 4-year-old girl who fatally shot herself Thursday with third-degree murder.

A woman identified as the mother of a 4-year-old girl who died after being shot in the head along the 1800 block of N. 20th St. is escorted to a police cruiser on Thursday, June 23, 2016.
Police gather at the home in the 1800 block of N. 20th St. where a four-year-old girl died after being shot in the head June 23, 2016. CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer
A Philadelphia police detective speaks with a woman who identified herself as a cousin of the 4-year-old girl who was shot in the head at a home in the 1800 block of North 20th Street on Thursday, June 23, 2016. CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer
Police gather around a home in the 1800 block of N. 20th St. where a four-year-old girl died after being shot in the head June 23, 2016. CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer
Photo Gallery: Police charge mother of 4-year-old girl who died from gunshot to head

Shakeya Holmes, 25, was also accused of trying to cover up the circumstances that led to daughter Sani's fatal injury in their North Philadelphia home.

Holmes, who was in police custody, was arraigned on her charges in Municipal Court via a video linkup about 8:30 a.m. Saturday. She did not show any emotion as she appeared on the video monitor.

Magistrate Jane Rice denied a motion to set bail for Holmes, ordering her kept in custody.

Police are also seeking her boyfriend, Demetrius Williams, on a charge of involuntary manslaughter and related offenses in connection with the case. They have an arrest warrant out for him.

Authorities received a 911 call about 12:25 p.m. Thursday directing them to a townhouse on 20th Street near Berks.

Lt. John Stanford, a police spokesman, said Thursday that responding officers found the girl's mother on the front steps, holding the 4-year-old girl.

Sani was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead about 1 p.m. of a bullet wound just above one eye.

Police said the shooting happened in a second-floor bedroom, where they found a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol.

The girl found the gun in a closet, police said.

The only other person in the house at the time besides the mother and the 4-year-old was the girl's 3-year-old sister.

Police on Friday said Sani may have accidentally shot herself.

"It looks like the injuries are self-inflicted," said Officer Tanya Little, a police spokeswoman.

Acquaintances of the mother have also said that the mother's boyfriend lived in the home.

The townhouse is in a development called Jackie's Garden, an affordable-housing community owned by Marlton-based Michaels Development Co. A spokeswoman for the company said Friday that she could not provide details about residents of the house where the girl was shot.

It was at least the third accidental shooting of a child this year in Philadelphia.

On April 7, a 9-year-old boy discovered his parents' loaded and unlocked gun in the bedroom of the family's Grays Ferry home and accidentally shot himself in a hand. He was treated for his injuries.

On April 16 in East Kensington, 4-year-old Tahirah Phillips was in a bedroom with her father, Maurice, and her six siblings - ages 13 years to 7 months - when her father, who police said was recklessly playing with his gun, accidentally fired it.

The bullet tore through the girl's head. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Following that shooting, police said, Maurice Phillips, 30, punched his 5-year-old daughter and wiped Tahirah's blood on her shirt to make it appear as if the girl had fired the shot that killed her sister.

He fled but was arrested later and charged with third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of children, and related offenses. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 13.

shawj@phillynews.com

215-854-2592@julieshawphilly

Robert Moran, Julie Shaw, Stephanie Farr, STAFF WRITERS

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