Family grieving after mother’s boyfriend kills 3-year-old son in shooting

HOUSTON – A grieving family is remembering the life of a 3-year-old boy who was killed in a shooting police say that involved his mother’s boyfriend.

Elijah Valencia Garcia, 3, loved to dance. He loved to smile big and he told everyone to call him Spider-Man.

His father, Richard Garcia, said he lit up the world everywhere he went.

“He was a really happy kid, for sure he made everybody that got to meet him (smile). He would always put a smile on people’s faces and he liked to greet people. He met strangers he would just say ‘Hi’ to everybody,” said Elijah’s father, Richard Garcia.

Houston police said Elijah was shot and killed Friday night after his mother’s boyfriend, identified as Ariel Esau Lujan, went on a shooting rampage inside a trailer home park off Almeda-Genoa in southeast Houston.

READ: Police: 3-year-old boy dies after being shot by man who was later killed during shootout with officers

Police said the mother, Veronica Valencia, who is pregnant, brought her son to Richard Garcia’s home to get away from the boyfriend. But he followed them, armed with an assault-type rifle and multiple magazines, police said. Lujan tried to break in and then started shooting into the home, police said.

Elijah was fatally struck by a bullet during the shooting, officials said. Valencia was also struck in the leg by a bullet, police said.

When police arrived, they said Lujan had Garcia at gunpoint. Officers told Lujan to drop his weapon but police say he then hid behind a car and pointed the rifle at them. That’s when an officer shot several rounds, killing Lujan.

Elijah’s family now heartbroken and devastated by the loss of their beautiful boy. They said they are left to pick up the pieces of this horrific and senseless shooting.

“He really didn’t deserve what happened to him," Garcia said. “I got to have him for three years, that was a blessing. The best three years of my life.”

He said Valencia has undergone surgery and is now recovering. The unborn baby’s condition is unknown at this time.

Police said the officer who shot and killed the suspect is on administrative leave. The shooting is still under investigation.

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