10-year-old accused of killing mother over virtual reality headset

MILWAUKEE — Prosecutors have charged a 10-year-old boy as an adult after he allegedly shot and killed his mother because she refused to buy him a virtual reality headset.

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Milwaukee police were called to the scene of a shooting on Monday, where a 44-year-old woman was killed, WITI reported. The victim’s 10-year-old child was at the scene, and initially told police the shooting was an accident.

In his first interview with police, the child, who was not identified due to his age, told detectives that he had been twirling the gun around his finger when it “accidentally went off,” WTMJ reported.

A day later, relatives contacted the police and questioned the child’s story. In a criminal complaint obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, police said the child then admitted to detectives that he intentionally pointed the gun at his mother before pulling the trigger.

The suspect’s 26-year-old sister told officers that her brother has “rage issues” and had received a “concerning diagnosis” from a therapist, WISN reported. Though cameras had been installed inside the home, they were unplugged prior to the shooting.

Family members told detectives that after the shooting, the 10-year-old did not show any remorse and allegedly admitted to his aunt that he had been aiming the gun at his mother, WDJT reported. In the criminal complaint, detectives said the child logged onto his mother’s Amazon account following the shooting to order a virtual reality headset.

In the complaint, detectives wrote that the child allegedly said to his grandmother, “I’m sorry for killing my mom,” before asking if the package from Amazon had been delivered, WDJT reported.

The criminal complaint also alleges that a family member told detectives that when the child was 4 years old, he would pick the family’s dog up by the tail and “swing the puppy around until it whined and howled in pain,” WTMJ reported.

The child has been charged as an adult with first-degree reckless homicide, and is being held on $50,000 bail, WISN reported.

In a later interview with police, the child allegedly admitted he was not twirling the gun when he shot his mother, and also said that his mother would not allow him to have something from Amazon that he wanted, WDJT reported.

“This is an absolute family tragedy,” Angela Cunningham, one of the attorneys representing the 10-year-old, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The adult system is absolutely ill-equipped to address the needs of a 10-year-old child.”