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1-Year-Old Shot in Head by Houston Police ‘Fighting for His Life’

Two weeks after being shot in the head by Houston police, a 1-year-old boy is still “fighting for his life” and struggling to breathe on his own, says his mother and her attorneys. On March 3, mom Daisha Smalls was pumping gas while her son, Legend, was in the back seat. She saw police cars and heard sirens, and then a man got into her vehicle and told her to give him the car.

“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 told CNN, saying she was also inside the car when the man jumped in. “Before I knew what happened they were already shooting at my car, and I was just scared for my son’s life.”

Houston police, however, said in a statement released on March 4 that the mom was not in the car when the shooting occurred. The police were pursuing a 30-year-old armed suspect in two aggravated robberies when he jumped out of a car he crashed during the chase. That was when he jumped in Smalls’ car with his weapon.

The suspect refused to drop the weapon, and officers fired several shots at him and he died at the scene. The baby boy was also shot, said Executive Assistant Police Chief Troy Finner in the statement. Finner said he was not sure whether officers at the scene knew the baby was in the car.

“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.”

Smalls said the bullet was removed from her son’s head along with the right side of his skull, but he still has bullet fragments in his head. Her attorney Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer, added that Legend is on a ventilator and has had more than 10 seizures.

“Why would they shoot knowing she was in the car? Not knowing who else was in the car. There could have been children, there could’ve been others in the car, but they shot,” Crump said. “Regrettably and tragically, little Legend will live the rest of his life with the consequences of their decision to shoot into his mama’s car even though they knew she was in there.”

The officer who fired the shot that hit the baby is a 15-year veteran of the Houston Police Department and has been placed on administrative duty while the investigation continues.

“My baby didn’t deserve this, my baby didn’t deserve to be shot, especially not by the police,” Smalls said. “I just want my baby to be safe. I just want my baby to be healthy.”

“The objectiveness is that there are innocent people in the line of fire. And we know that you do not shoot, unless you know what your target is,” Crump said to NBC News. “And clearly the Houston police did not know their target, because they hit Legend squarely in the skull. Not a graze wound.”

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