HOUSTON – The mother of a 1-year-old boy hit by gunfire from a Houston police officer who was shooting at a robber earlier this month spoke about the incident for the first time Tuesday.
The shooting happened March 3 at a gas station at the corner of the Southwest Freeway feeder road and Beechnut Street.
According to police, the robber jumped out of a vehicle and into another vehicle where a woman was pumping gas. Police said they spotted a weapon as they moved in on the man and a 15-year veteran of the Houston Police Department opened fire, killing him.
Police said that a 1-year-old who was in the back seat of the vehicle at the gas pump was hit by gunfire.
Daisha Smalls, the mother of Legend Smalls, said she had just finished pumping gas and had gotten back into her vehicle when a man ran up and tried to force her out. She said she was screaming at the man that her baby was in the car and that she wouldn’t get out.
“I was just scared for my son’s life,” Daisha said.
Daisha Smalls, 19, said the man forced his way into the vehicle and that was when police opened fire, hitting her son. She said Legend suffered a gunshot wound to the right side of his head. She said the bullet has been removed from his brain, but bullet fragments remain.
“My baby didn’t deserve to be shot, especially by the police,” Daisha said.
Daisha said her son is still in the intensive care unit and is struggling to breathe and move on his own.
Attorneys representing Daisha, including well-known civil rights attorney Ben Crump, accused the police of breaking their own policies by opening fire before properly identifying their target. They also allege a discrepancy in the officer’s account. Crump said Legend was hit in the head by a bullet and not grazed as police have described. The attorney’s also said the police department’s claim that Smalls was outside her car at the time of the shooting was false. Crump said Smalls was sitting inside the car when the officer opened fire and put her and her son’s life in danger.
A lawsuit against HPD is forthcoming, according to the attorneys. Crump is also calling for HPD to release the full surveillance video from the gas station and any body camera video.
On Tuesday, Police Chief Art Acevedo released a statement in regards to the shooting:
Watch a replay of the news conference in the video below.