CHICAGO – A South Side woman has been charged with a felony count of reckless discharge of a weapon after police say she shot her brother in the eye last week while the two argued over whether or not her handgun would fire. 52-year-old Joeann Smith allegedly shot her brother, Willie Smith, 56, last Wednesday at her home in the city’s South Shore neighborhood. He was taken in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and pronounced brain dead a 9 a.m. the following morning, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
At the scene, Joeann Smith told police that she and her brother began playing with her loaded Rosco .22-caliber revolver while they were drinking Seagrams Gin and King Cobra beer. According to the police report, the pair was going to fire the gun into the air from the back porch, but Mr. Smith said the gun would not fire because the bullets were old.
The report further states that while they were in the living room, Joeann Smith handed the gun to her brother who in turn, handed it back. She then pulled the trigger. A bullet struck her brother in the eye, according to the report, and he fell to the floor. Joeann Smith then called 911.
When officers arrived, they found him face-down on the floor, breathing slowly, according to the report. Joeann Smith initially told officers the gun discharged accidentally while they were playing with it. She also told the police the gun was in the bedroom but it was eventually found under a couch cushion after she admitted it was in the living room.
Joeann Smith was arrested and ordered held in lieu of $250,000 bail in Cook County Bond Court.