Garrion Glover Jr. was just days away from celebrating his fifth birthday. But the little boy who loved to play with toy guns never made it.
Police have not yet said if the shooting was accidental or self-inflicted.
"They were all asleep and he got hold of a gun and he shot himself, fatally shot himself," said LaToya Glover, the boy's grandmother.
Glover said Garrion lived in an apartment in the 3500-block of Guthrie Street. His mother told her she heard a loud boom overnight.
Police said she had been asleep in her bedroom with her boyfriend when they heard the noise. She found her son lying on the floor in the living room, near the couch where Garrion's uncle had been sleeping, bleeding.
"She just said she woke up, she heard the loud noise, she ran turned on a light and if she hadn't have moved him she would have never know because she thought he was asleep," Latoya Glover, Garrion's grandmother, said. "They got up and they ran. It looked like he was asleep. So they're looking, but when they moved him, it was a whole different scenario."
Police responded to a report of an assault with a firearm just before 12:05 a.m. Garrion was rushed to the hospital where he died at 3:05 a.m., the Lake County Coroner's Office said. An autopsy did not rule on his manner of death, which is pending further studies.
Glover said this is the second tragedy for her family.
The child's father, Garrion Glover Sr., was shot and killed at the same apartment complex in 2014, when the boy was almost two.
LaToya Glover and other family members said her grandson's tragic death could have been prevented.
"I was angry because first and foremost, if there's a handgun on the premises, it should be put away," Glover said.
"To him - it probably was a toy to him. That's what he probably thought it was," said Kenny Trout, the boy's cousin. "It should have been locked away and put on a shelf somewhere where he couldn't reach it."
Andrew Holmes, an anti-violence activist, agreed.
"They're not getting it and they're not listening. If they were getting it and listening, this baby would still be living. So somebody has to be held accountable," Holmes said.
Police recovered the gun and are running the serial number to see who it is registered to.
On Thursday, neighbors brought flowers and candles in memory of the little boy who was just days away from celebrating his fifth birthday.
"As a mother I couldn't imagine enduring the pain of losing a child. I am just praying for this family," Nakia Bell, a neighborhood resident, said.
Anyone with information on the shooting should call Detectives Machuca and Orange at (219) 391-8326; or the anonymous hotline at (219) 391-8500.