The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has filed charges in the shooting death of a 4-year-old girl, which took place late Monday in the child’s home in the far Northeast section of the city.
Though police can’t say who was responsible for Kastari Nunez’s shooting, they have filed charges against three of the four adults in the home at the time, including the girl’s parents.
Anthony Voci, the district attorney’s homicide unit chief, said Kastari’s parents Alhakim Nunez and Iris Rodriguez have been arrested and arraigned.
The couple faces several charges including involuntary manslaughter, a second-degree felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, upgraded to a first-degree felony because the child was under the age of 12 and was killed.
Voci, who said initial police reports found the parents to be uncooperative, said the parents were also charged with obstruction of justice, unsworn falsification to authorities and tampering with evidence for their behavior after the girl’s fatal shooting
The DAO charged a third woman with no relation to Kastari, Ashley Gushue, with unsworn falsification to authorities, tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice.
“The killing of Kastari Nunez was unintended,” said Voci. “However, it was not in any way, shape or form accidental because the shooting death resulted from a handgun which should have never been in the home of the father.”
According to Voci, police found a .357 Smith & Wesson six-shot revolver on the living room couch in the home where Kastari was shot. The gun had been unsecured in the home for several months, said Voci, despite the fact Alhakim Nunez is not legally allowed to possess firearms because of previous drug convictions in three states, including Pennsylvania.
“It should have never been in the house,” said Voci. “If it was in the house, it should have been secured. It wasn’t secured.
Police said Nunez was upstairs in the middle of a drug transaction when Kastari, who went by the nickname “Star,” was shot — tacking on additional possession charges in his case.
Kastari would have turned 5 in June. She died at Jefferson-Torresdale Hospital from a shot to her abdomen.
Her 2-year-old brother, who was also in the house that night, was taken in by an uncle, and authorities have not interviewed the toddler.
Nunez is being held on $1 million bail and Iris Rodriguez is being held on $500,000 bail. Voci said authorities are waiting on additional forensic tests to return, which could lead to additional charges.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Kranser is reminding residents are required to safely store firearms if children are present in the home.