Two-year-old boy allegedly shot in head by father dies

Local News

Two-year-old Zayden Phillips has died after he was shot inside of a home on Walnut Street in Rochester last week. Strong Memorial Hospital confirmed the toddler’s death Wednesday morning. 

On Oct. 20, police arrested Zayden’s father, Charles Phillips, for the shooting. According to a felony complaint, Charles shot Zayden in the head with a handgun. Family members say the shooting was accidental.

“There’s just too much violence in this world,” said neighbor Amelia Pettit. “And a two-year-old had to die because of it. I mean that’s the last thing I would really expect to happen — actually anywhere.”

Charles pleaded not guilty to charges of assault in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. He previously served time in prison for attempted robbery. He was on parole until Oct. 7. 

When Zayden was on life support, prosecutors said charges could change depending on his status. According to the District Attorney’s office, a grand jury will decide if Charles will face more or less charges.

Charles is scheduled to appear in Rochester City Court Thursday.

A GoFundMe account has been set up by Zayden’s aunt to help with funeral expenses.

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