Mom charged after 2-year-old girl fatally shot in the head in Gary, Indiana

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Jayla Miller and Dashana Fowler

GARY, Ind. (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A woman has been charged with neglect after her 2-year-old daughter was fatally shot Tuesday night at their home in Gary, Indiana.

Dashana Fowler, 22, was charged with a count of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and three counts of neglect of a dependent, according to Gary police.

Officers responded at 6:51 p.m. to the home in the 1700 block of Polk Street and found Jayla Miller suffering from a gunshot wound to her head, according to Gary police. Miller was taken in critical condition to Methodist Hospital Northlake in Gary and then flown to Comer Children’s Hospital, where she died about 9:30 p.m., according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The medical examiner’s office did not immediately rule on the cause and manner of death pending further investigation following an autopsy Thursday.

Miller was at the home with three other children when she was shot with an unsecured weapon, Gary police Cmdr. Jack Hamady said. No adults were present at the time, and Miller’s 6-year-old brother told authorities that she accidentally shot herself.

Hamady said investigators were still looking into how she came to be shot.

Fowler and her boyfriend were initially taken into custody for questioning, police said. The boyfriend was released without charges. Fowler’s bail was set at $150,000 at a hearing Thursday, according to court records.

“This unfortunate incident involved an innocent young child and could have been easily avoided by keeping firearms away from children,” police said in a statement. “Firearms are not toys and should always be considered loaded and secured away from children. Firearm safety and education is paramount.”

Anyone who can provide additional information about the shooting was asked to call detectives at (219) 755-3855.