Parents Charged in Connection with Toddler’s Tragic Shooting Death by His 5-Year-Old Sibling

The parents of a one-year-old boy who was fatally shot by his five-year-old sibling in Indiana earlier this year have been apprehended and charged in relation to the tragic incident, according to court documents. Deonta Jermaine Johnson, 27, and Shatia Tiara Welch, 24, face a multitude of charges stemming from the March 28 death of their son, Isiah Johnson, in their Lafayette apartment, located approximately 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

Each parent has been charged with one count of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, two counts of neglect resulting in endangerment, and one count each of neglect resulting in bodily injury, conspiracy to commit dealing a narcotic drug, dealing a narcotic drug, possession of a narcotic, conspiracy to commit dealing marijuana, dealing marijuana, possession of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia, as per the records of Tippecanoe Superior Court. Johnson is also facing an additional charge of obstructing justice.

The tragic incident occurred when the older child discovered a firearm in the family’s apartment and accidentally shot his younger brother in the head, according to a probable cause affidavit. The toddler, just 16 months old, died from a single gunshot wound to the head. Subsequent toxicology reports revealed that the toddler had traces of marijuana in his system, while his older brother tested positive for cocaine.

The parents were taken into custody on Monday afternoon following a traffic stop, as stated by the Lafayette Police Department. Johnson reportedly told the police that he was asleep on the couch when he heard a loud noise and found his son in his bedroom. He initially denied that his child had been shot and insisted that there was no firearm in the apartment. However, he later claimed that Welch, the leaseholder of the apartment, had a gun on the premises.

Upon further questioning, Johnson stated that he was awakened by a noise and saw his older son downstairs asking for cereal. After preparing the cereal, he went to check on the younger child. Welch returned home during the ongoing investigation and allegedly told the police that she kept her gun locked in a box under her bed, but had lost one set of keys. She insisted that her five-year-old would not know what the keys were for.

However, during a search of the apartment, officers found a firearm and car keys in a top dresser drawer. Various drugs were also reportedly discovered in the apartment. Surveillance footage from the apartment complex allegedly showed Johnson leaving and placing a bag in a car after his son’s death. Police claim that marijuana was found in the car after a search warrant was obtained.

Both Johnson and Welch appeared in court on Wednesday. Jail records from La Porte County no longer list either defendant as being detained. Johnson’s trial is set to begin on November 28, while Welch’s trial is scheduled for December 12.