Man charged after daughter, 2, shoots herself in the head

By John Mercury February 23, 2024

A Michigan man has become the first person charged under a new gun storage law after his two-year-old daughter shot herself in the head. 

Michael Tolbert, 44, was arraigned on Monday on nine felony charges including single counts of first-degree child abuse and violation of Michigan‘s gun storage law, said John Potbury, Genesee County’s deputy chief assistant prosecuting attorney.

Mr Tolbert’s daughter Skye McBride remains in a critical condition in hospital after the 14 February shooting.

This photo provided by the Genesee County Sheriff...s Office shows Michael Tolbert. Authorities say the Michigan man whose 2-year-old daughter shot herself in the head with his revolver pleaded not guilty after becoming the first person charged under the state...s new law requiring safe storage of guns. John Potbury, Genesee County...s deputy chief assistant prosecuting attorney, says a not guilty plea was entered on behalf of Tolbert when the Flint man was arraigned Monday, Feb. 19 on nine felony charges, including one count of violation of Michigan...s gun storage law. (Genesee County Sheriff...s Office via AP)
Michael Tolbert. Pic: AP

Michigan’s new safe storage gun law had only come into force the previous day, the first anniversary of a shooting at Michigan State University, which killed two students and left others critically wounded.

It is part of a sweeping reform of gun regulations in the state.

The law took effect a week after a Michigan jury convicted a shooter’s mother of involuntary manslaughter, making her the first parent in the US to be held responsible for a child carrying out a mass school shooting.

Mr Tolbert pleaded guilty to all charges, which also included one count each of felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition, lying to a peace officer in a violent crime investigation and four counts of felony firearm.

The 44-year-old, from the city of Flint, is barred from possessing firearms and ammunition because he has multiple firearms-related and drug-related convictions.

Flint police learned of the shooting after Mr Tolbert took the girl to a hospital.

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Officers found two guns in the bedroom of the man’s home – a revolver used in the shooting and a semiautomatic pistol. Both were unsecured and loaded. Police said they found no gun locks or safes in the bedroom.

A GoFundMe page to cover medical funds described Skye as a “ball of energy, a joy to be around and the star of our lives”.


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