A 1-year-old boy was accidentally shot by Houston police earlier this month, when they fired at an armed robbery suspect who had climbed inside the vehicle of the baby’s mother while she was parked at a gas station.
Now, the little one — who was struck in the head — is fighting for his life, and his mother is suing the department.
What are the details?
Daisha Smalls said during a news conference Tuesday that she was pumping gas on March 3 when a man climbed into her vehicle while her son, Legend, was in the back seat.
WMUR-TV reported that Ms. Smalls claims “she was sitting in the car when the man jumped in and police were right behind him.”
“I wouldn’t give him my car because I let him know that I have a child in my car and that I would not leave my car without my son,” Smalls said.
The mother recalled, “Before I knew what happened they were already shooting at my car and I was scared for my life.”
“Houston police had a different telling of events,” CNN reported, pointing to a March 4 news conference where Houston Police Department Assistant Chief Troy Finner said “Smalls was not in the car when shooting took place.”
HPD Executive Assistant Chief Finner provides an update on officer involved shooting at Southwest Freeway and Beech… https://t.co/pp80Tng6TJ
— Houston Police (@Houston Police)1614845871.0
The outlet reported:
The 30-year-old man in question was a suspect in two aggravated robberies who was already being chased by police when he jumped out of a car he crashed during the chase. The suspect — who was armed with a gun — then entered Smalls’ car.
The man refused to drop the weapon, officers fired several shots at him and he died at the scene. The baby boy was also shot, Finner said.
“Fearing for the mother’s safety, one of our officers discharged his duty weapon, fatally striking the suspect,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said in a statement. “Sadly, baby Legend was also struck. Officers at the scene immediately rendered first aid to Legend.”
Finner said he was not sure whether officers at the scene knew the baby was in the car.
KHOU-TV reported that Legend remains in a pediatric intensive care unit, and his mother says the bullet that hit her child has been taken out but fragments still remain.
“I was just scared for my son’s life,” Smalls said at the press conference. ” My son has been fighting every day for his life, and he’s struggling on his own to breathe by himself, to move by himself.”
Ms. Smalls added, “My baby didn’t deserve this. My baby didn’t deserve to get shot, especially not by the police.”
A portion of the infant’s skull also had to be removed to relieve swelling from the brain, according to attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family in a lawsuit against the HPD over the incident.
According to KHOU, “Crump alleges the baby was a victim of reckless shooting triggered by racial bias.”