KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Kentwood police say a 2-year-old shot himself with a loaded gun that his mother’s boyfriend tucked between the couch cushions.

Markus Nevills Jr., 22, was arraigned Monday on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Ki’Aire McCoy.

“In a grossly negligent manner, specifically leaving a loaded Glock 22 handgun on the couch and leaving the area unsupervised, allowing a 2-year-old unfettered access to the firearm,” Judge Amanda Sterkenburg explained the allegations against Nevills in court.

An undated photo of Ki’Aire McCoy. (Courtesy Natasha Smith)

The shooting happened around 8:20 p.m. Friday at Hidden Lakes Apartments north of 44th Street near Breton Road. The Kentwood Police Department said Nevills was dating Ki’Aire’s mother and lived with them.

In a document filed with the court, investigators said Nevills put the loaded .40-caliber Glock 22 between the armrest and cushion of the living room couch and Ki’Aire was able to get it.

“Nevills stated he ‘zoned out,’ while high on marijuana and (was) scrolling on his phone,” the document reads in part. “Nevills admitted to sitting forward on the couch so that his back was to the firearm. Nevills stated he believes Kiaire crawled behind him on the couch and that is how he obtained access to the firearm.”

The boy shot himself in the head and was rushed to the hospital, where he died.

Visibly upset in court Monday, Nevills declared his innocence.

“I don’t understand. I don’t understand this. I’m trying to see how they’re saying this is my fault. I didn’t shoot and kill him,” he said. “I’m innocent, I swear to God on my life. I ain’t got no reason to lie about this whole case.”

But police wrote in the court document that Nevills told investigators that “he was not paying attention to where Kiaire was and admitted he was responsible for the death.”

His lawyer called the death a tragedy but called for leniency.

“It sounds like a terrible accident and there is no criminal intent there,” defense attorney Richard Zambon said. “Sounds like a case of negligence and I would ask the court to consider that. I know it’s a serious charge but I would ask the court to consider that.”

Online Michigan State Police records show Nevills has two previous misdemeanor convictions: one for larceny in 2019 and one for assault in 2021. Court filings regarding the 2019 case show Nevills broke into a Universal Wireless store in Gaines Township and stole a thousand dollars worth of cellphones. He later pleaded guilty.

Nevills’ bond in the manslaughter case was set at $200,000 cash or surety. He is scheduled to be back in court on June 5 and June 12. If convicted, he could spend up to 15 years in prison.

Ki’Aire’s family needs assistance with funeral efforts so they have created a GoFundMe page to raise funds for his funeral costs. 

—News 8’s Byron Tollefson contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article contained an alternate spelling of Ki’Aire’s name. His mother confirmed the correct spelling is Ki’Aire.