Rochester man pleads guilty to gun charge in fatal shooting of 2-yr-old son

Charles Phillips, 36, pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Phillips was arrested after his son Zayden suffered a gunshot wound to the head on October 20, 2017. (Photo: Provided)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Investigators now say the two-year-old Rochester boy who died after being shot in his home last fall is the one who pulled the trigger. Friday, his father admitted in court that the illegal gun was his.

Charles Phillips, 36, pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. His family was in court, supporting him, while also still heartbroken over the loss of two-year-old Zayden.

Phillips was arrested after his son Zayden suffered a gunshot wound to the head on October 20, 2017.

He had originally been charged with manslaughter, as well.

In court, Friday, it was revealed Zayden was alone with the gun when it went off.

According to investigators, Phillips answered the door at their Walnut Street home on October 20, 2017. He then went into his basement and got out his loaded semi-automatic handgun. Investigators say he left the gun in a common room, stepped outside to check on something, and when he came back to the room, Zayden had been shot.

"It does seem more a more likely that what you heard in court, that the 2-and-a-half-year-old child pulled the trigger and did cause the injuries," said Assistant District Attorney Sara VanStrydonck. "I don't see it as an accident; I see an accident as something you cannot prevent and in this case, I think that Zayden's death was 100-percent preventable. He shouldn't have had the gun in the first place, it shouldn't have been loaded and it shouldn't have never been out for a second where the child could have had access to it."

Phillips is scheduled to be back in court next month.

As part of the plea deal, he could be sentenced to 12 years behind bars.

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