In this Tuesday, April 17, 2018 photo, police work the scene where a 3-year-old girl accidentally shot and wounded her pregnant mother in a car parked outside a northwestern Indiana thrift store. The shooting happened Tuesday afternoon in Merrillville, Ind., as the girl, a 1-year-old boy and her mother waited in the car while the woman's boyfriend was inside the store. Police say the man is the girl's father and apparently left the loaded gun in the car. (Rob Earnshaw/The Times via AP)

Man charged after 3-year-old daughter shoots mother

April 19, 2018 - 6:19 pm
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MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana man is facing charges after his 3-year-old daughter accidentally shot her pregnant mother with a gun he left in the woman's car, police said Thursday.

Menzo Brazier, 21, of Michigan City was charged Thursday with two counts each of criminal recklessness and neglect of a dependent. He's being held in the Lake County Jail in Crown Point.

Merrillville police said Shanique Thomas, who is seven weeks pregnant, told detectives that Brazier was inside a thrift store shopping Tuesday and she stayed outside in the car because she had a headache and was feeling ill.

"Thomas stated that while she was sitting in the driver's seat she suddenly heard a loud pop like a balloon" and realized she was bleeding, police said in a news release.

A bullet passed through the driver's seat, Thomas' upper right chest, and the windshield, police said.

Brazier had left a loaded handgun between the center arm rest and the front passenger seat, according to police. Detective Sgt. James Bogner said the child "had no idea what she had done and she was very scared."

The girl has been placed in protective custody along with a 1-year-old boy who also was in the car at the time.

Police said Thomas underwent surgery and suffered nerve damage. They didn't comment on the condition of her unborn child.

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