Two Milwaukee families are grieving after what started out as a fatal accident turned even deadlier afterward. The terrible domino effect started Sunday when 2-year-old Damani Terry dashed into the street and was struck by a van driven by 40-year-old Archie Brown Jr., the AP reports. Brown reportedly jumped out of the van to help Damani, who was fatally injured; Damani's 15-year-old brother, Rasheed Chiles, sprinted into the street as well. Police say the boys' uncle, Ricky Chiles, then came out of one of the homes and fired his gun at Brown, whom he shot and killed—inadvertently killing his nephew, Rasheed, as well. The toddler and Brown died at the scene; Rasheed died after being taken to a nearby hospital. Chiles reportedly fled, and as police closed in on him yesterday, he shot and killed himself in a Chicago-area motel, the AP notes.
"It was a terrible day," Damani's father, Randall Terry, who was with two of Damani's half-siblings at the movies when the toddler was killed, tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett described the events more harshly, calling Brown's death an "assassination," the AP reports. The city's police chief, meanwhile, said at a press conference yesterday that "this sad example is what we get when we have folks who decide it's their responsibility to use their guns to redress their grievances." Terry tells the Journal Sentinel that he hopes the two families can band together to grieve and ignore people on social media who are blaming Damani and Rasheed's mother for not keeping a better eye on the toddler, as well as Damani himself for darting into the street; the toddler was reportedly trying to join a group of girls dancing in a park across the street. (Read more Milwaukee stories.)