NEW ORLEANS -- A 5-year-old girl is dead and her mother is behind bars. On Sunday, New Orleans police arrested Laderika Smith, 28, for second degree murder for allegedly leaving her daughter home alone with a gun.
Just before 11 a.m. Sunday morning police were called to a home on the 2200 Block of Galvez Street. Inside officers found the little girl lying on the bedroom floor, shot in the head with a .38 revolver.
"I am very shocked and just devastated that it happened in my family," said Smith's cousin Veranda Williams. "It's very saddening."
Right now the family is reeling over the loss of the 5-year-old girl, who accidentally shot herself in the head while playing with a gun.
"She was a sweet, beautiful little girl. All kids are good no matter what. But she didn't deserve this," said Smith's cousin Danielle Carter.
Family members say the gun belong to friend and was just temporarily being kept on the top shelf of a closet.
"You have to think first if you got kids in the house, anything can happen. Kids do climb and things do happen," said Williams.
Investigators say Smith left her daughter home alone while she went to the store. Police say Smith later confessed she had a gun inside the home.
It is just not permissible for a child to be able to get possession of a gun, especially in their home," said Carmen Demoruelle an outreach worker for Cease Fire.
As the rest of the family copes with a life cut to short, they say they have message for others.
"It's hard when kids are involved," said Carter. "I fully believe that every parent that has a gun keep it out of kids reach and keep them on a safety and a lock."
According to police records, this is not the first time police have arrested Smith. Since 2005, Smith has been arrested three different times for crimes including theft and prostitution.