A Philadelphia father allegedly confessed to fatally shooting his 4-year-old daughter in the face after her 5-year-old brother was initially fingered for the killing, according to reports.
Maurice “Stephon” Phillips was arrested after he turned himself in to police, reportedly telling authorities that his son had nothing to do with the shooting death of his little girl.
He told police he had been playing with a gun when it went off and struck his daughter, whose name had not been released by police, in the face at 2:25 p.m. Saturday, CBS Philly reported.
Emergency responders rushed to the scene, but the little girl could not be saved and was pronounced dead just five minutes later at the family home on East Mayfield Street in Kensington, a known violent neighborhood.
Though officials have not yet released the child's name, her mother Tera Riddick took to social media to mourn the little girl's death, writing: "You will be miss tahirah Phillips I love you with all my heart."
Riddick reportedly rarely let her or her five other children play outside because of the neighborhood’s penchant for violence, authorities said.
“No, I’m not bringing these kids out with this trouble,” neighbor Louise Sawyer recalled Riddick saying to CBS.
Police originally said it appeared the girl may have been shot by her 5-year-old brother.
Authorities told reporters a semiautomatic pistol was recovered inside the home, which they believed to belong to the father.
Phillips posted a photo on his Facebook of a semiautomatic pistol with a box of hollow-point bullets on February 14.
Phillips, who fled the scene after the little girl was shot, turned himself in, police said.
He was charged with third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of children, possessing an instrument of crime and recklessly endangering another person, Philly.com reported.
Phillips was arraigned Monday and was being held without bail.
He is next expected to appear in court on May 4.