Metro-East News

3-year-old shot with BB gun in care of family friend, police say

Chauntez J. Cage
Chauntez J. Cage

A 3-year-old girl and her three siblings were in the care of a family friend when the toddler was shot in the forehead with a BB gun, according to police.

The girl ended up needing surgery to remove the bullet about a month after she was shot, according to Fairview Heights Police Department spokesman Tim Mueller.

A 20-year-old Belleville man, Chauntez J. Cage, was caring for the girl on June 28, police said. He pointed the gun at her forehead and pulled the trigger, causing permanent disfigurement, according to charges filed on Thursday.

Detectives said Cage pointed the gun intentionally at the girl and pulled the trigger, not knowing there was a bullet in the chamber.

Cage reportedly told the mother it was an accident and said the bullet did not penetrate the girl’s skin, according to police. There was swelling around the child’s forehead, but she did not appear to be seriously injured.

While at the hospital for another reason, the mother asked medical providers to examine her daughter’s forehead, police said. They found the bullet was still lodged behind the skin and said it would require surgery to remove.

A judge set Cage’s bail at $10,000. He remained in custody in the St. Clair County Jail as of Sunday afternoon.

Cage was charged with reckless conduct, a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by one to three years in prison.