While shooting at an armed robbery suspect, a Houston police officer fired his gun into a vehicle occupied by a one-year-old boy in the backseat. The child was shot in the head and has remained on a ventilator for at least 10 days.
Around 11:30 p.m. on March 3, Daisha Smalls stopped at a Chevron gas station with her one-year-old son, Legend Smalls, sitting in the backseat. As Smalls was putting gas into her car, she saw a man crash a black Mercedes into the gas station before exiting the vehicle and running towards her car.
According to Smalls, she was inside her vehicle when the suspect attempted to steal the car from her. Smalls repeatedly told him that she could not get out because her baby was in the backseat.
In a recent statement, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo wrote, “Fearing for the mother’s safety, one of our officers discharged his duty weapon, fatally striking the suspect. Sadly, baby Legend was also struck.”
Police officials stated that Houston police had been chasing the suspect for three miles and believe the black Mercedes was linked to two aggravated robberies. After the suspect crashed the Mercedes and refused to drop his firearm, officers reportedly opened fire on him before he could steal Smalls’ vehicle.
According to police, the officer who shot Legend Smalls did not know the baby was in the vehicle when he opened fire.
Although the bullet has been removed from the side of Legend’s head, doctors were unable to remove several bullet fragments. The child has also suffered more than 10 seizures since the incident.
On Wednesday, Smalls’ attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci issued the following statement: “The Houston Police Department continues to dilute the details of the shooting of Legend Smalls to the public to paint their officers as heroic and distract from the fact that they shot a 1-year-old baby in the head. This innocent child, who had his whole life ahead of him, is fighting for his life in the hospital after HPD had the arrogance to characterize his head injury as a ‘graze.’ This was not a graze, as Legend remains in the ICU, without the ability to breathe or move on his own.
“The officers, in this case, did not in any way behave reasonably, as they clearly did not weigh the potential of injury to innocent citizens.”
“My son has been fighting every day for his life,” Legend’s mother told ABC13. “He’s struggling to breathe on his own. My baby didn’t deserve it. I miss my son. I want him to be back the way he used to be.”
The officer who shot Legend Smalls has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation into the shooting. The HPD Special Investigations Unit and Internal Affairs Division are investigating the incident, while the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is conducting its own separate investigation.