KEY POINTS

  • The accused and the other party goers were drinking and posing with the gun
  • The accused was out on bail and previously charged with illegal firearm possession
  • The accused and the other survivors left the party after the gun went off

A 17-year-old girl died after she was accidentally shot in the head by a man who was “flirting” with her while allegedly being “playful” with the gun at a private Boston party, police said. 

The accused, 21-year-old Messiah Leggett, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and unlawful possession of a firearm without a license in connection with the death of Nalijah Andrade, of New Bedford in February. He was arraigned Monday where a not guilty plea was entered on Leggett’s behalf. 

Andrade was pronounced dead on Feb. 4, around 11:30 p.m. after Boston police responded to a shooting. The incident occurred at the Hyatt Regency Boston Hotel. According to the prosecutor’s office, Andrade was talking to Leggett who had been handed a 9mm semiautomatic pistol with one bullet by an acquaintance, Kenny Jnleys.

"Mr. Leggett was playing with the gun and flirting with the victim when she swatted his hand, and he accidentally discharged the single round in the firearm, killing the victim," wrote prosecutors in court papers obtained by the Boston Globe

Andrade died from a bullet wound to the head. 

Leggett has been previously charged with illegal gun possession stemming from an August 2020 arrest. He was out on bail when he, Jnleys and another 21-year-old man had rented a room at the Boston Hotel.

The trio had been partying for several hours when Andrade and three other teenage girls joined them. 
 
"In addition to drinking, smoking, and partying, individuals were playing and posing with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol," wrote prosecutors in court papers.  

After the gun went off, Leggett, Jnleys and the three other teenagers left. Police were able to locate Leggett and the three girls along with the gun. Leggett allegedly confessed to the crime in front of the responding officers.

"He told police that the juvenile had been playing with the gun and that he had reached to stop her; that he had grabbed the gun and when both his and the juvenile’s hands were on the weapon, it accidentally discharged," prosecutors wrote.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

"It is too early for me to comment as it is a pending matter. Please keep an open mind until all the evidence is presented to the court as the case gets underway," said Meg Stanley, Leggett’s attorney in an email to Associated Press Tuesday. 

A $25,000 bond cash has been set by the Superior Court.

handcuffed Representational Image Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images