By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia police say a father made up a story that his son was shot and killed in a home invasion, early Thursday morning. They say 28-year-old Edward Williams Sr. lied to cover up his own prior legal troubles after his 4-year-old son accidentally shot himself in the head while playing with a gun he found in a closet.

The incident happened on the 2100 block of North Lambert Street, around 1 a.m.

Police: 4-Year-Old Boy Shot, Killed During Reported Home Invasion In North Philadelphia

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Williams initially told police someone broke into his North Philadelphia home and killed his son. However, police say there were no signs of forced entry, the house wasn’t ransacked and Williams wasn’t hurt.

Police say Williams was sleeping when his son, 4-year-old Edward Williams Jr., found the 9mm glock in a bedroom closet. A 3-year-old was also in the bedroom at the time of the shooting. He was not hurt.

Edward was rushed to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators say the child’s mother was at work when the shooting happened.

Police say the gun was not stolen but did not belong to Williams. Police say Williams never should’ve had a gun.

“Our investigation revealed that a home invasion did not, in fact, occur. We believe Mr. Williams made that up, probably due to the fact that he had several prior arrests,” Philadelphia Police Capt. Jason Smith said. “He’s not to have possessed a firearm, therefore he attempted to conceal the circumstances.”

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Williams’ prior arrests include gun charges.

The shooting is hitting the community hard.

“I’m speechless. I think everybody is crying out for help, to be honest. So many hidden agendas, so many sicknesses, illnesses, people are crying out for help and this is the only way, I guess, to get it,” one neighbor said.

Neighbors put out teddy bears and a candle in honor of the young boy.

“He was a good kid,” Elsie Rodriguez said. “Used to play around and everything.”

Guns and children continue to be a violent mix in the city. As of Wednesday, city officials say there have been nine shooting victims under 18 years old this year.

“Unfortunately, officers throughout the city have been in that situation and we’re very conscious of the help that many need because a lot of them are parents of young children,” Acting Philadelphia Police Commissioner Christine Coulter said.

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Williams is still with detectives and could face charges in his son’s death.