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Man who fatally shot younger sister with ‘ghost gun’ didn’t think it would fire, prosecutors say

A man who fatally shot his little sister told police he didn’t think the gun worked when he accidentally touched the trigger, prosecutors said Friday afternoon.

Lawrence Daniels, 20, appeared in court before Cook County Judge Charles Beach, who set bond at $50,000 during a livestreamed hearing.

Daniels was charged with involuntary manslaughter after the shooting of his 15-year-old sister Shaniya Daniels just before 7 pm Tuesday in the 2400 block of West Marquette Road in the Marquette Park neighborhood.

Lawrence Daniels and Shaniya Daniels were in a bedroom they were sharing at the time when Lawrence Daniels’ brother heard a gunshot and ran in, Assistant State’s Attorney Danny Hanichak said in court.

Lawrence Daniels and Shaniya’s father, who had just gotten home, ran to the bedroom and tried to render aid to Shaniya while her mother called 911 and Lawrence Daniels left the room, Hanichak said.

Shaniya Daniels, who was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 7:26 pm, died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Her death was ruled a homicide.

When police got to the home, Lawrence Daniels was outside, “milling around emotionless,” according to Hanichak.

The brother pointed out Lawrence Daniels to police and Lawrence Daniels later told authorities he accidentally shot her after he didn’t think the gun he had, which was a ghost gun, was going to work, according to Hanichak.

So-called ghost guns are not sold by retailers or at gun shows. They are untraceable weapons often made by hobbyists or from kits purchased online and have no identification numbers on them that allow them to be traced by law enforcement. People assembling ghost guns also are able to avoid background checks the state requires to obtain a firearm.

While police were still at the home, someone called 911 and said they saw a bag drop from a third floor window of the home, Hanichak said.

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Officers found the bag with a ghost gun partially disassembled and another handgun with an extended magazine inside, Hanichak said.

Chicago police confirmed the ghost gun matched the cartridge casing found in the bedroom, once they were able to make the gun functional, Hanichak said.

“The firearms department needed to do significant work on the ghost gun to get it to fire properly for testing,” Hanichak said.

Lawrence Daniels told detectives he got the ghost gun from a friend about two months ago and said it was “only 80% gun,” and the rest still needed to be made, Hanichak said.

Daniels said there weren’t screws in the gun and he hadn’t yet put all the parts together so he didn’t think it worked. Daniels accidentally touched the trigger and the gun went off, he told detectives.

Daniels also admitted to throwing the gun out the window, Hanichak said.

Daniels is due back in court Aug. 18.

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