HOUSTON - A southwest Houston family is grieving after someone shot and killed their baby boy Wednesday afternoon.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo vowed to catch the three "cowards" responsible.
“A 10-month-old boy that was just the beginning of his journey, and his journey was cut short by cowards that have absolutely no respect for the sanctity of life, by cowards that crossed a line, you don’t shoot at a man who’s carrying his 10 month-old-son," he said.
Houston police said the shooting was reported about 1:40 p.m. at the Nob Hill East Apartments near the intersection of Braeswood Boulevard and Braesmont Drive.
Investigators said a father was taking his 10-month-old son, Messiah, for a walk when three men approached them. One of the men, who was wearing a white T-shirt, opened fire on the father and son, striking the child.
All three men fled the scene, police said.
“We're going to ask for the public's help, go out and talk to some people, canvass the neighborhood and talk to anyone who is willing to talk to us about what happened,” said Sgt. Mark Halbrook with HPD Homicide.
He said they’re currently looking for the suspects.
HPD sent a tactical team to the apartment complex to stop possible acts of retaliation.
"He was only 10 months old. He just started walking. He was happy," the baby's grandmother, Jawan Wilson, said. "I call them punks because any time somebody wants to kill or shoot at somebody with a child, you're a punk. That's not right."
Video from Sky 2 showed a large police presence at an apartment complex near the intersection.
HPD said the father tried to run away from the gunman, but Messiah had already been hit.
Joshua Levy said he was driving home when he saw the father screaming for help with the baby in his arms.
“He came running out with the child in his hands and he started yelling ‘help me, help me,'” explained Levy.
He said at first he thought Messiah had fallen and hit his head and needed stitches, but when he realized the child had been shot, he told the father to get in his car and took him to the Valero on the corner.
Right now @houstonpolice looking for 3 suspects. Descriptions are very vague,HPD says man w/ handgun was a blk male w/ a white shirt @KPRC2 pic.twitter.com/ml6Am48w5E — Sophia Beausoleil (@kprc2sophiab) June 14, 2017
“He got in the car and we went to the Valero because I saw a cop there earlier. He [the father] started screaming, ‘call an ambulance, call 911’ and finally help came,” Levy said. “I was a little nervous, my legs started shaking, it’s sad seeing him walk around with his baby basically dead in his hands.”
Another witness, Mary Hidelgo, was pumping gas at the Valero when she saw the father yelling for help. She called 911 and started to record the situation.
“I saw a guy who had a little baby and he goes, 'Somebody shot my little baby," said Hidelgo.
Hidelgo was very upset when she saw the video she recorded. She said the baby’s death hits close to home because her daughter, 28-year-old Adela Siminaro, was killed three years ago by a drunk driver.
"I'm feeling angry, because why do this to innocent babies?” said a tearful Hidelgo in regards to Messiah.
Houston police said the father did not know the men who approached him. Investigators are still looking for the men and asking for the public’s help.
"At the end of the day, I know God has my back and he's got my family's back, and I serve a greater God and they will get caught," Wilson said.
Messiah’s mother spoke with KPRC Channel 2 over the phone and said her son would have been a year old in August.
Her other child, Zariyah Marshall, is a month old.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family.
If you have information about the shooting, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to the identity and arrests of the gunmen.
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