A 1-year-old boy has been in the intensive care unit since early March after being shot in the head by Houston police earlier this month, the baby’s mother and her attorneys said on Tuesday.
Daisha Smalls was pumping gas on March 3 when she saw police cars and sirens, she said at a news conference on Tuesday. Smalls said she was sitting inside the vehicle when a man approached and told her to get out of the car. Her son, Legend, was in the backseat.
“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, describing that the man then sat on her lap and tried to hijack the vehicle.
The police then shot into her car, killing the suspect on top of her and injuring Legend Smalls when a bullet entered his head, Small’s attorney, Ben Crump said.
“I was just scared for my son’s life,” Smalls said. She later added that he “didn’t deserve to be shot, especially not by the police.”
Doctors had to remove part of Legend’s skull because of brain swelling, and though they removed the bullet, there are still fragments in his brain, Crump added.
“He’s had multiple seizures — over 10 seizures — he’s still fighting for his life,” he said.
Crump’s co-counsel, Antonio Romanucci, said they are still investigating but that “you can anticipate a lawsuit being filed shortly” because of a violation of the Houston police’s mission statement.
Ben Crump: Nation defaults to seeing Black people — too often victims — as threats
Earlier this month, Houston Police Department Executive Assistant Chief Troy Finner said that Smalls was not in the car the night when the man allegedly hijacked it. Seeing he had a gun, officers told the man, who was 30 and the suspect in two armed robberies, to drop the weapon, according to Finner.
He refused, and an officer fired several shots at him, Finner said on March 4. The man, whose name has not been released, died at the scene.
Finner said he thinks the police officer did not know that Legend 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 posted to Twitter Tuesday. “Sadly, baby Legend was also struck. Officers at the scene immediately rendered first aid to Legend.”
“We are hoping and praying for the full and speedy recovery of little one-year-old Legend Smalls,” he added.
‘This is about justice’:Events, rallies mark 1-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death
The clerk at the gas station told ABC13 that there is a surveillance video of the shooting. Body camera footage, if it exists, has not been given to the attorneys, Crump said, but he is calling for authorities to release it.
“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.”
Crump said he looked forward to having conversations with the Houston Police Department and with the city of Houston.