GARY, Ind. — The mother of a 2-year-old girl who was fatally shot in the head in Gary was charged on Thursday in connection to her death, according to police.
Dashana Mattica Fowler, 22, was charged with one count of level one neglect of a dependent resulting in death and three counts of level six neglect of a dependent, according to officials.
The toddler, identified as Jayla Miller, was shot in the 1700 block of Polk Street around 7 p.m. Tuesday. Police found the toddler with a gunshot wound to the head in a room the family was renting.
According to a release from police, the girl was transported to Methodist Hospital Northlake in Gary for treatment. She was then airlifted in critical condition to Comer’s Children Hospital in Chicago for treatment. According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, she died around 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
The six counts of neglect Fowler was charged with were for the other three children that were present at the time of the incident. The children are in protective custody.
Police said the incident could have been avoided by keeping firearms away from children.
“Firearms are not toys and should always be considered loaded and secured away from children. Firearm safety and education is paramount,” Commander Jack Hamady, Gary Investigative Division, said in a release.
No formal charges have been filed for Fowler’s boyfriend, 39, who was present at the location and was taken in for questioning.