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Damien Holmes

St. Louis parents charged with manslaughter

by Leigh Egan

A 12-year-old boy was shot dead by his 9-year-old brother while they played with guns.

A 12-year-old St. Louis boy is dead after his 9-year-old brother accidentally shot him with a gun in the family home on Tuesday. The boys’ parents are now facing manslaughter charges.

The St. Louis Dispatch reports that Damien Holmes, 12, was killed when his 9-year-old brother started playing with a gun while the boys were left home alone. The boys found the gun shortly before 11 p.m. While the younger brother was holding the gun, it discharged, shooting Damien in the chest. The boy was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

While searching the home, authorities found a handgun, shotgun, and ammunition. Police also found several types of drugs in the home, including cocaine, marijuana, and amphetamines. The boys’ parents, Donnie L. Holmes, 41, and Yolanda Thomas, 40, were both charged with involuntary manslaughter and two counts of child endangerment each. Holmes was also charged with three felony counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Neighbor Brenda Harger said that the children were often left alone by themselves.

“Most of the time they are there by themselves. The mother would leave for work, and the dad would leave after she left.”

Harger also said they were both sweet boys that “didn’t run the street.” Just a few weeks prior to the shooting, they helped her clean up an alley.

Both parents remain in jail. Holmes is being held on a $300,000 bond and Thomas on a $200,000 bond. The investigation is still ongoing.

[Feature Photo: Handout/St. Louis PD]

Leigh Egan is a crime-fighting journalist and editor who specializes in breaking news and investigative true crime coverage. With more than a decade of experience under her belt, Leigh’s work can be found in a number of high-profile national publications. For Leigh, learning didn’t stop after college. She considers herself a lifelong learner who frequently takes media and journalism courses to keep abreast of the latest happenings and innovations in her field.