A teenage father who hasn’t yet graduated from high school has been charged with killing his infant son.
Michael Fiorentino was 16 and enrolled at Cheektowaga Central High School when, on Oct. 24, he shook his 2-month-old son, who died four days later, Cheektowaga police said.
On Wednesday, police announced that he has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Now 17, Fiorentino was arraigned before Town Justice Paul S. Piotrowski, who set bail at $50,000 in cash or $100,000 bond, and was taken to the Erie County Holding Center.
Police said Fiorentino has been cooperating with the investigation and voluntarily returned to the area from Texas to surrender to Cheektowaga authorities.
In the meantime, the case is being sent to a grand jury.
Fiorentino, who at one time was living in Williamsville, was living at the baby’s mother’s house with her family on Meadow Place in Cheektowaga at the time of the baby’s death. He continued going to Cheektowaga Central while the baby’s mother, Emily Fagan, went to Maryvale High.
Family members said he had been baby-sitting the infant, Bradley Fagan, at the house on Meadow when he allegedly shook him, resulting in what police said was a case of shaken-baby syndrome. The baby was taken to Women & Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, where he died.
Fiorentino’s Facebook page shows a picture of what appears to be Bradley cradled in one arm, next to someone, presumably Fiorentino, wearing a Cheektowaga Central Warriors jersey. It’s time-stamped Oct. 28, the date that Bradley died.
Gayle Fagan, the baby’s grandmother, said her daughter, Emily, now 19, was enamored with her infant.
“My daughter adored that baby,” Fagan said. “He was a happy baby.”
She said she was glad that Fiorentino had agreed to come back to Cheektowaga to face the charges.
“I’m happy he came back from Texas. I understand his mother brought him back. He’d gone down there to live with her after it happened,” Fagan said. “The last time we had spoken with him was at the hospital.”
She said the arrest will bring back the terrible memories from last fall. “We’re going to have to relive this all over again,” she said.
Cheektowaga Assistant Police Chief James J. Speyer Jr. said the police had no prior contact with Fiorentino before the baby died.
Fiorentino’s grandmother said so, as well.
“He was 16 when this happened. He was going to high school, playing sports and working two jobs,” said the grandmother, who declined to give her name to a reporter. “He’d never been in trouble before in his life.”
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