Man who shot child in park pleads guilty to four charges

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published March 9, 2016

 Christian Eric-Deandre Howard

Christian Eric-Deandre Howard

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MACOMB COUNTY — A 25-year-old man who shot a toddler in a Clinton Township park last year has pleaded guilty to four charges relating to the matter.

On Feb. 16 in Macomb County Circuit Court, Christian Eric-Deandre Howard pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree child abuse, receiving and concealing a firearm, possessing a firearm during the act of a felony, and careless discharge of a firearm that leads to injury or death.

The only non-felony charge involved the discharge of the firearm.

Howard’s plea came as a result of a plea deal made between his attorney, Ryan Zemke, and Judge Diane Druzinski.

Zemke explained that the plea includes a sentence that would not exceed 3 1/2 years behind bars. The felony firearm charge alone is a mandatory two-year sentence.

Now, it’s just a waiting game.

Zemke said the plea deal can still be manipulated if either Druzinski or the prosecution in the case decide to change their minds. Even Zemke and his client could go in a different direction as well.

Sentencing is currently scheduled for the morning of March 31.

“I don’t want to talk about it too much. It can still fall through,” Zemke said. “(The plea’s) been accepted but it’s something where the judge can still back out of it and we can back out on it, based on the presentence report.”

As to whose decision it was to make a plea deal in the first place, Zemke said he had no comment.

Howard’s plea comes more than nine months after he shot a young child in Normandy Park on Little Mack Avenue near 15 Mile Road.

Clinton Township police said Howard was at the park playing with the boy, who is now 4 years old, when a park ranger came by around 8:30 p.m. and told them the park was closing.

Capt. Richard Maierle said the ranger was cleaning the restrooms when he heard sirens. He then saw Howard with the boy, who was wounded.

The shooting, which Howard originally told police was an accident, did not kill the young boy. Howard was dating the boy’s mother at the time. The child is not his.

Maierle added that the gun used in the shooting wasn’t initially found by police.

Zemke said Howard had previously been on bond, when he was represented by two other attorneys.

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