Mother of child who shot herself now booked with murder - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Mother of child who shot herself now booked with second-degree murder

Updated:
Laderika Smith Laderika Smith

The mother of a 5-year-old girl who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sunday now faces a charge of second-degree murder. Her bond has been set for $75,000.

The development came as friends and family members gathered at the little girl's home on North Galvez to honor her memory. One by one, they gathered at little Brandajah Smith's home in St. Roch Monday evening, bringing stuffed animals and writing goodbyes to a child who touched many lives.

Smith died Sunday after she shot herself in the head with a .38 revolver. Police say Smith's mother, Laderika Smith, told them she went to the store and locked the little girl inside the house, alone. She came into contact with the revolver and was found by her mom lying on the bedroom floor.

The girl's cousin, Leon Warren, lives with the family and he says Smith had siblings, but she was the youngest.  Warren didn't know that Laderika had left her daughter alone, saying, "I don't know how it happened. I'm very sorry it happened. I know her mom is sorry it happened."

Warren admits there was a gun kept on a shelf in the house. He says he thought it was out of reach of the children.

Smith's grandmother says she wants some answers. "I don't even know why the gun was there. If you've got kids, no weapons should be there anyway. If so, put up or locked up, no bullets, no nothing," said Zina Smith.

Brandajah's mother, Laderika, was arrested after the shooting. She now sits behind bars at Orleans Parish Prison. Her family says they feel like they've lost two loved ones in this accident.

"It's really hurting me so bad because people really don't understand that my daughter is a good mother. And sometimes when you go on the wrong road and you can't straighten back up... stuff like this happens," said Zina Smith.

As neighbors and relatives lit candles on the Smith family's front porch, they said prayers and asked God to never let something like this happen to another child again.

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