Grandmother sentenced after her 9-year-old grandson fatally shot teenage girl

BALTIMORE, MD – A local grandmother has been handed a four-year prison sentence following a tragic incident in which her 9-year-old grandson fatally shot a teen girl. April Gaskins, the grandmother, was convicted on charges of reckless endangerment and firearm access by a minor, leading to her sentencing on Thursday. The charges stem from a fatal shooting incident involving her grandson and a 15-year-old neighbor, Nykayla Strawder.

The tragic incident unfolded on the evening of August 6, 2022, when Baltimore Police responded to a shooting report. Upon arrival, officers found Strawder with a gunshot wound to the head on a home’s porch. She was rushed to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

Investigations revealed that the shooting occurred when a group of children were gathered on a porch, and Gaskins’ grandson began showing off a handgun. The gun discharged, striking Strawder in the head. The boy dropped the gun from his hand and then fled from the scene. The handgun was later found and traced back to Gaskins.

Gaskins admitted to investigators that the gun was her personal weapon, stored on the floor of her bedroom closet. She also revealed that her grandson often spent time in her bedroom, watching television, and had access to the room. A subsequent search of her residence yielded an empty magazine, two boxes of 9mm ammunition, and an empty gun box.

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Ivan J. Bates emphasized the importance of responsible gun ownership in his comments on the case. He expressed hope that the sentence would underscore the city’s commitment to holding individuals accountable for their role in perpetuating violence, particularly when it involves children.