Man Pleads Guilty In Shooting Of 5-Year-Old Cousin

Police: Man Was Twirling Gun, Handling Marijuana

An 18-year-old who police said was twirling a gun in one hand while handling marijuana in the other when he accidentally shot his 5-year-old cousin pleaded guilty on Tuesday.

Izriol Santiago admitted to shooting Miguel Luna in the head in a home at 1522 Lawton Ave. the night of Aug. 26 and then running from the scene, 6News' Derrik Thomas reported.

He pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness in exchange for prosecutors dropping an obstruction of justice charge.

"This is a decision he made. He's been very forthright to me and had a strong desire to take responsibility," said Santiago's attorney, Eugene Kress.

Luna has been released from Riley Hospital for Children, but requires continuous care at home, prosecutors said.

"The child has suffered permanent mental and physical disabilities as a result of this gunshot wound. The prognosis is not expected to improve," said Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson.

Santiago's mother, Tina Santiago, who was baby-sitting Luna when he was shot, said she thinks the plea bargain was the right thing to do.

"It's just over. It's good that he did," she said.

Izriol Santiago is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 22. He faces a maximum of eight years in prison.