Baltimore (Md.) September 14, 2023 - Today, April Gaskins was sentenced to three years in prison for Reckless Endangerment and one year, to be served consecutively, for Firearm Access by a Minor. Gaskins was found guilty of all charges in July for the fatal shooting of fifteen year-old Nykayla Strawder by Gaskins' grandson.
“I hope this sentence makes it clear that in the City of Baltimore, we are holding everyone accountable for their role in proliferating violence, especially violence against our children,” said State’s Attorney Ivan J. Bates. “Responsible gun ownership can be a matter of life or death for parents and guardians. This case shows the deadly aftermath when people are careless with firearms. I hope the Strawder family finds healing in today’s sentence.”
On August 6, 2022, at approximately 8:01 p.m., Baltimore Police officers responded to the 600 block of Linnard Street about a shooting. Upon arrival, officers located a juvenile female on the porch of a residence suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the head. The juvenile was later identified as Nykayla Strawder. The victim was transported to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she was pronounced deceased despite best efforts.
The investigation revealed that a group of juveniles were sitting on the front porch of the residence when a nine-year-old juvenile male began showing off a gun. The firearm then discharged, striking the victim once in the head. The male subsequently dropped the gun and ran away. The handgun was recovered by investigators and found to be registered to April Gaskins, the juvenile male's guardian and grandmother. Ms. Gaskins told investigators that the handgun was her personal weapon and that she stored it on the floor of her bedroom closet. She also stated that her grandson had access to her bedroom, where he often watched television.
A search and seizure warrant was executed at Ms. Gaskins' residence, and the following was recovered: one empty magazine, two boxes of 9mm Lugar ammunition, and one empty gun box.