A 10-month-old baby girl is in critical condition after she was shot in the head, allegedly by a man who wanted a relationship with her mother, according to police.
Fayth Percy was shot at about 4 a.m. on Sunday and rushed to a hospital where a bullet fragment was removed from her head, Fresno, California, police Chief Jerry Dyer said at a news conference on Sunday.
The shooting unfolded after Fayth went with her mother, Deziree Menagh, 18, to a family gathering that night, Dyer said.
There, Menagh ran into a man she had met a week prior, 23-year-old Marcos Echartea, and he tried to grab her hand, Dyer said. Menagh pulled away, went outside and told friends what happened.
Echartea later came outside and tried to pull Menagh into him and force her to sit on his lap, according to the chief. She resisted, pulled away and went back into the house, where she got her baby and decided to leave, the chief said.
“There was no relationship. It was very apparent that he wanted a relationship with her,” Dyer said.
Echartea also went inside and then came back out, according to the chief.
Menagh and the baby got into a car driven by a friend and they drove away; then as they started to park, they noticed Echartea “walking hurriedly” towards the car, Dyer said.
Echartea allegedly pulled out a gun and fired three rounds into the driver’s side window, which was up, the chief said.
One round hit Fayth on the side of the head as her mother, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, was holding her, the chief said. If the window were down, the baby may have been killed, according to Dyer.
“We are hoping and praying that baby Fayth is able to survive this injury,” he said. “I know the parents are broken, they’re hurting. We held hands at the hospital and prayed over the baby.”
Echartea was identified as the shooter and taken into custody, Dyer said, adding that he “has no regard for human life, even a baby.”
Echartea had also been wanted for shooting into a home in May; in that shooting, which was allegedly over a woman, a baby was nearly hit from a bullet, Dyer said.
He is expected to be charged with three counts of attempted murder for the Sunday shooting as well as shooting into an inhabited dwelling and assault with a deadly weapon from the May incident, Dyer said.
Echartea is expected to appear in court this week, according to ABC Fresno station KFSN. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.