Child shot on Milwaukee's north side, men plead guilty

MILWAUKEE - Two Milwaukee men charged in connection to the 2023 shooting of a child on the city's north side reached plea deals with prosecutors on Wednesday, March 27.

Elijah Ely – who prosecutors said is the child's father – pleaded guilty to neglecting a child, and a bail jumping charge was dismissed. He is scheduled to be sentenced in April.

Khiree Santiago-Boss pleaded guilty to second-degree recklessly endangering safety and felony bail jumping, and prosecutors agreed to drop two other felonies. He was then sentenced to eight years in prison and five years of extended supervision.

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Case details

According to a criminal complaint, the Milwaukee Fire Department was dispatched to a home near 64th and Custer the night of Nov. 8, 2023, in response to a 911 call regarding a 3-year-old child who sustained a gunshot wound to the head.

<div>Elijah Ely; Khiree Santiago-Boss</div>
Elijah Ely; Khiree Santiago-Boss

When fire officials arrived at the scene, the child was "unconscious and barely breathing," the complaint states. The child was in critical condition on life support – and turned 4 years old – according to court filings dated last November.

<div>Police scene near 64th and Custer Avenue</div>
Police scene near 64th and Custer Avenue

The mother of the child told investigators that she had been in a relationship with Ely for a number of years and that they have two children together, including the victim. She said Santiago-Boss came over around 5 p.m. the day of the shooting, and the two men were hanging out downstairs.

The mother claimed the victim was going back and forth between upstairs and downstairs that night, per the complaint. She said she was upstairs giving the other child a bath when she heard a single gunshot followed by Ely and Santiago-Boss screaming. She ran downstairs to find the victim lying on the floor – and called 911. The complaint alleges Santiago-Boss then grabbed the phone, said it was his and he "had to go."

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Ely and Santiago-Boss then fled the home, according to the complaint.

During an interview with investigators, the complaint states Ely said he and Santiago-Boss were "chilling on the couch smoking" before the shooting. He claimed Santiago-Boss had a gun and set it on the living room floor. He admitted they were not paying attention when the victim came downstairs – and the child took the gun and shot himself.

Ely also admitted that both he and Santiago-Boss fled the home immediately after and tried to evade apprehension by law enforcement, the complaint states.