Houston, TX — A tragedy has unfolded in Houston after police involved in the pursuit of a suspect opened fire on that suspect and shot a one-year-old baby in the head in the process. The baby and the mother were not involved with the suspect and were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time.
According to authorities, the shooting happened Wednesday nights at a gas station around 11:30 p.m. Police are claiming they did not know a baby was in the back seat of the car when they opened fire.
The mother had pulled into the gas station and was pumping gas as her baby sat safely in the backseat of their car. According to police, a suspect in a black Mercedes then crashed into the gas station while being pursued by officers. The suspect reportedly jumped into the woman's car in a seeming attempt to steal it.
According to ABC 13, Houston police had been chasing the man for about three miles. They say the black Mercedes he was driving was possibly linked to two aggravated robberies.
When officers told the suspect to get out of the woman's vehicle, the suspect did not comply according to police. Police also claimed that the man had a gun and refused to drop it, prompting a 15-year veteran of the Houston Police Department to open fire.
The bullets not only killed the suspect, but unfortunately one struck the baby in the backseat as well.
Police would not say whether or not the suspect pointed a gun at officers. However, the entire shooting was captured on the gas station's surveillance footage.
"I saw at least four or five cop cars chasing, I believe it was a Mercedes. Your best bet is to get footage from the gas station. I'm pretty sure they got everything," eyewitness Jaffar Hassan told the news station.
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The department announced that the officer who shot the baby has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
The baby is currently fighting for his life in the hospital and is listed as in critical condition.
"The most important thing right here, for our entire city, pray for this 1-year-old and that mother," HPD Executive Assistant Chief Troy Finner said. "Can you imagine? She's pumping gas, probably coming from work or whatever, and has to go through this. And now she's in the hospital and we're all praying for that baby."
While this is certainly an accident, TFTP has reported on incidents like this before which have left multiple children shot or dead at the hands of police firing into cars occupied by children.
As TFTP reported, a rather disturbing scene unfolded in Oklahoma City as police officers attempting to kill a robbery suspect opened fire on four small children inside his truck, shooting three of them. For months, the family and residents demanded answers and the police remained silent. After the police refused to hold anyone accountable, the mother of the three children who were shot took legal action in the form of a lawsuit earlier this year.
Also, last year on Thanksgiving, police opened fire on an immobilized vehicle after a crash and killed a small baby in the back seat. The driver of the truck — the baby's father — was reportedly unarmed.
Another tragic case of police officer shooting into a vehicle is the case of Jeremy Mardis, a 6-year-old boy who was murdered on video by officer Norris Greenhouse Jr. in 2015. Like the children in the examples above, Mardis was with his father when police opened fire — killing him. After being convicted in the murder of a child, Greenhouse servedless than two years in jail.