A 1-year-old boy who was shot in the head by a Houston police officer during an attempted carjacking is still fighting for his life — and “didn’t deserve” to wind up that way, his mother said.
Daisha Smalls was pumping gas at a Chevron in southwest Houston on March 3 when an armed man who was fleeing from police tried to carjack her as her son, Legend Smalls, was in a car seat, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“My baby’s 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 cops pursued him in a chase that ended at the gas station, where he tried to steal Smalls’ car, the newspaper reported.
A Houston officer identified as E. Garza opened fire on Smalls’ car, fatally wounding Woods, a 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 press conference Tuesday. “My baby didn’t deserve to be shot — especially not by police.”
The boy remains in intensive care at a hospital, where doctors have said they’ll need 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 putting Smalls, her son and others in danger by opening fire, NBC News reported.
“The objectiveness is that there are innocent people in the line of fire,” Crump told reporters. “And we know that you do not shoot, unless you know what your target is. And clearly the Houston police did not know their target, because they hit Legend squarely in the skull. Not a graze wound.”
Crump and two other attorneys representing Smalls said they plan on filing 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 alleviate pressure caused by brain swelling, Crump said.
“Why would the police not respect her life?” Crump asked. “They knew she was in the car, this innocent black woman, but yet they started shooting in the car.”
In a statement released Tuesday, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the department was “hoping and praying” for Legend’s full recovery while noting that the officer involved was trying to stop an attempted carjacking.
“Fearing for the mother’s safety, one of our officers discharged his duty weapon, fatally striking the suspect,” Acevedo said. “Sadly, baby Legend was also struck.”
Executive Assistant Chief Troy Finner had previously said he didn’t believe the officer “realized” that Legend was in the car at the time, the Chronicle reported.
Garza, meanwhile, remains on administrative leave as Houston police review the shooting.