The mother of a one-year-old boy in intensive care has spoken out, sharing her heartbreak after her son was accidentally shot in the head by police.
Legend Smalls was shot in head by a stray police bullet earlier this month as officers in the US city of Houston pursued an armed suspect.
The boy has since had part of his skull removed and is "fighting for his life" in the intensive care unit, his mother Daisha Smalls says. She claims the police department has not apologised.
At a press conference on Tuesday (local time), she decried the situation and recalled the terrifying moment she and her son were caught up in the police pursuit while at a petrol station.
The suspect crashed into the petrol station where she was filling up on March 3, and then approached her vehicle and forced his way inside.
"I wouldn't give him my car because I let him know that I have a child in my car, and that I would not leave my car without my son," Ms Smalls said, wiping tears away as she addressed camera crews with her lawyer.
"Before I knew what happened they were already shooting at my car and I was just scared for my son's life."
A GoFundMe page set up by the woman's sister, claims the assailant pointed a gun at the 19-year-old mum as he forced his way into her vehicle.
"Despite my sister screaming and hollering that her baby, my nephew, was in the car they [police] opened fire anyway hitting the baby in the head," it says. The page has raised US$16,000 of its US$100,000 target.
"[He] didn't deserve to be shot, especially not by the police," Ms Smalls said Tuesday.
"He's still fighting for his life."
Houston police 'praying for entire family'
Houston police said they believe officers were not aware of the child in the back seat at the time of the killing of the suspect, who was wanted in relation to two aggravated robberies.
Houston police issued a statement yesterday, saying the incident was under investigation and senior members of the force had visited the child in hospital.
"Due to these ongoing investigations and pending litigation, we won't comment further, other than to reiterate our collective hearts are praying for the entire family."
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) March 16, 2021
Ms Smalls' lawyer, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, said police can expect a lawsuit stemming from the incident.
Mr Crump gained notoriety recently for advocating on behalf of George Floyd's family. The city of Minneapolis last week reached a $US27 million ($34 million) settlement with the family over the high profile case.
The trend of fatal police shootings in the United States seems to only be increasing, with a total 132 civilians having been shot, 16 of whom were Black, in the first two months of 2021. According to a Washington Post database, US police have fatally shot 988 people in the past year.
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