9-year-old girl shot in head while riding with family on Southwest Freeway, HPD says

HOUSTON – Authorities are investigating after a 9-year-old girl was shot in the head while riding with her family to the grocery store Tuesday night, Houston Police Department said.

Family members identified the girl as 9-year-old Ashanti Grant.

“My family is numb right now,” said Ashanti’s grandmother Elaine Williams.

Houston police responded to reports of a shooting on the Southwest Freeway around 9:12 p.m.

According to officers, a family was driving near the 9800 block of Southwest Freeway and Fondren when someone driving a white GMC Denali pickup truck cut off the family’s vehicle several times.

Police said the driver of the pickup truck shot into the family’s vehicle, which was carrying a man, woman, and their two children - a 12-year-old boy and Ashanti.

Ashanti was shot in her head, investigators said.

The driver then fled the scene.

Williams said her son called her last night with the word that her granddaughter had been shot.

“He was going to the grocery store and somebody was having road rage and he got caught up in it,” Williams said. ”Somebody started shooting in the vehicle and they called her name and she didn’t respond.”

Police said the family pulled into a nearby gas station and the child was transported by ambulance to the hospital where she had surgery.

She is currently in critical condition.

“We’re going to do everything we can to find these individuals,” HPD Lt. Willkens said. “Just another tragic incident that has occurred, and so prayers for this family and that little girl. She’s in surgery now. Praying that she does make it.”

Police described the suspects in the pickup truck as Hispanic men and women.

The Grant family hopes the police make a swift arrest. They have started a GoFundMe to help with the child’s medical expenses.

“Everything that’s going on with guns and people being allowed to just — anybody can have a gun these days, and they don’t have to get a permit they don’t have to get checked out,” Williams said.

Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact the HPD Major Assaults and Family Violence Division at (713) 308-8800 or Crime Stoppers at (713) 222-TIPS.

About the Authors:

Moriah Ballard joined the KPRC 2 digital team in the fall of 2021. Prior to becoming a digital content producer in Southeast Texas and a Houstonian, Moriah was an award-winning radio host in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio and previously worked as a producer/content creator in Cleveland. Her faith, family, and community are her top passions.