2 'cowards' arrested in connection with park shooting that left toddler injured, chief says


HOUSTON – Houston police Chief Art Acevedo and Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the arrest of two men they said were involved in a shooting that left a toddler injured Saturday.

The shooting happened around 5:25 p.m. at a southwest Houston park in the 11000 block of Haviland Street.

Police have arrested Leonard Butler, 25, and Mark Wakefield, 26. 

Detectives said the men were shooting in the air indiscriminately, striking the car with the child inside. 

The men, who both were released on bond for other crimes, were described by Acevedo as being "cowards" for their actions. 

PHOTOS: Toddler injured in shooting at southwest Houston park

Witnesses told police that a silver Acura pulled into the park and that someone exited the vehicle and began firing shots at a red vehicle, where the child and his mother were sitting, officials said. 

Police said the 2-year-old child suffered two gunshot wounds to his face and lower buttocks. He was taken to an area hospital in critical condition, police said. The child is expected to survive his injuries "by the grace of God," Acevedo said.

Butler and Wakefield were taken to the Harris County Jail, "where they belong," Acevedo said. 

Detectives said at the time of the shooting at the park, Butler was out on a $30,000 bond for an aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon that had happened in November at the same park. 

In that case, charging documents said that Butler had walked up to a food truck at Haviland Park, attempted to buy a drink and Cheetos. When the food truck operator asked for payment, Butler reportedly said, 'You come to my territory" and pulled a gun from his waistband. 

The food truck operator let Butler take the items because he was afraid for his life, court documents show. When officers arrived at the park, Butler was gone but had left the empty Cheeto bag, a black jacket with a gun and cellphone underneath it, records show.

A photo lineup was given to the food truck operator and he identified Butler as the man with the gun, according to documents.

Wakefield was also out on bond at the time of the shooting. He was also arrested at Haviland Park in December on suspicion of posessing a deadly weapon. 

VIDEO: Houston police, mayor give update on Haviland Park shooting that left toddler injured