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Michigan man pleads guilty in accidental shooting that killed 2-year-old boy

Michigan man killed during mental health crisis, crime falls in ShotStopper areas and more stories
Michigan man killed during mental health crisis, crime falls in ShotStopper areas and more stories 04:01

(CBS DETROIT) - A Michigan man charged in the accidental shooting that killed a 2-year-old boy has pleaded guilty, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.

Federal prosecutors said Avis Damone Coward, 22, of Lansing, admitted to having a 9mm pistol and a .45-caliber pistol in the child's mother's car in October 2023 when one of the guns accidentally discharged, fatally wounding the child. 

Officials said Coward got out of the car at a Lansing gas station, leaving the child and his mother in the car. According to surveillance video, a bullet hole appeared in the window a minute later and the boy's mother, Emma Huver, 26, got out of the car holding her child. When she exited the car, a gun fell out of it. 

As the child was taken inside the gas station, Coward picked up the gun and broke out the front passenger window, which had a bullet hole from the shooting, before driving away. The child died from his injuries.

Officials said Coward called two people to pick up the guns and hide them. One of those people, Gina Schieberl, 26, pleaded guilty to conspiring with Coward to tamper with evidence. Schieberl admitted to moving the car to prevent police from finding it. The vehicle was later found damaged after it was set on fire.

Huver pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms.

Sentencing for Huver and Schieberl is scheduled for Sept. 16 and Oct. 21, respectively.

"There was nothing inevitable about the senseless death of this two-year-old child," said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten in a statement. "This incident is just one example of the grim reality we face: that gun violence is now the number one cause of death for our youngest Americans, ages birth to 19. We cannot bring this innocent child back, but these guilty pleas mark an important step toward securing a measure of justice and sending the message that careless gun owners will be held accountable."  

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