A 1-year-old boy shot in the head by a Houston police officer during an attempted carjacking is still fighting for his life and “didn’t deserve” to end up that way, his mother said.
Daisha Smalls was pumping gasoline into a Chevron in southwest Houston on March 3 when a gunman fleeing police tried to kidnap her while her son, Legend Smalls, was in a car seat, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“My baby is in the back seat!” Daisha Smalls yelled.
The suspect, identified as 33-year-old Broderick Woods, was driving a Mercedes-Benz linked to at least two robberies when police pursued him in a chase that ended at the gas station, where he attempted to steal the car from Smalls, the newspaper. reported.
A Houston officer identified as E. Garza opened fire on Smalls’s car, fatally wounding Woods, the father of three, and also hit Legend as the boy sat in his car seat.
“My son has been fighting every day for his life,” Smalls told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. “My baby didn’t deserve to be shot, especially not by the police.”
The boy remains in intensive care at a hospital, where doctors have said they will have to “wait and see” if he can recover, according to civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is part of Smalls’ legal team.
Crump is accusing the officer of endangering Smalls, his son and others by opening fire, NBC News reported.
“The objectivity is that there are innocent people in the line of fire,” Crump told reporters. “And we know you don’t shoot, unless you know what your target is. And clearly the Houston police didn’t know their target, because they hit Legend square to the skull. Not a rubbing wound. “
Crump and two other attorneys representing Smalls said they plan to file a lawsuit against Houston police over the shooting, the Chronicle reported.
Doctors have removed the bullet from the boy’s brain, but fragments remain. Part of his skull had to be removed to relieve pressure caused by swelling in the brain, Crump said.
“Why wouldn’t the police respect his life?” Crump asked. “They knew she was in the car, this innocent black woman, but they still started shooting in the car.”
In a sentence released on tuesdayHouston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the department was “hoping and praying” for Legend’s full recovery and noted that the officer involved was trying to stop an attempted carjacking.
“Fearing for the mother’s safety, one of our officers unloaded his service weapon, fatally hitting the suspect,” Acevedo said. “Sadly, Baby Legend was hit too.”
Deputy CEO Troy Finner had previously said that he did not believe the officer “realized” that Legend was in the car at the time, the Chronicle reported.
Meanwhile, Garza remains on administrative leave while Houston police review the shooting.