Six-year-old Texan boy killed by stray bullet when police open fire on woman suspect
The boy was inside the trailer during the shooting when one bullet penetrated the wall and fatally pierced through his torso
Four Texas sheriff deputies accidentally shot dead a 6-year-old boy at a mobile park home in Schertz, a suburb of San Antonio. The deputies had opened fire on a suspect while investigating the theft of a vehicle. Authorities said it is unclear who fired the bullet that struck the boy. The suspect, a woman whose identity has not been revealed, was also killed in the gunfire. She was a wanted felon and a suspect in a car-theft. She was unarmed at the time of the shooting.
Around 2 hours before getting shot, the woman had led a cop chase. During an earlier confrontation, when she was found hiding in the closet, the woman pointed a handgun at a deputy threatening to shoot him. The deputy had been chasing her over reports of a stolen car received at 10:48 am.
In an attempt to lose the cop, she swam across chin-deep waters in Cibolo Creek and into a wooded area, forcing the officer to abandon his body armor and pursue her while carrying his dog.
The sheriff called other police agencies for backup.
What then ensued was a 90-minute chase through the woods, as the cops tried to track the woman down with their tracking dogs. They finally pursued her into the live action crime scene — the trailer park.
The woman tried breaking into several homes running into witnesses whom she physically threatened. Valerie Mills, 58, a resident of the mobile home park, stepped out of her home when she heard the helicopters and was approached by the woman who was waving her hands asking for help, which Valerie denied.
Rhonda Campbell, 58, told San Antonio Express-News that the woman broke through her front door when she was watching TV.
Anthony Fritcher, 33, reported that the wanted suspect barged into his house through the front door when he was just getting the back door, demanding keys to the car parked outside.
The pair, along with Campbell's husband, charged her, forcing her to run away and out of sight, finally leading her to the trailer home where the boy lived.
When she was trying to break into the little boy's home, the deputies caught up to her and cornered her on the front porch, opening fire, killing her and also Kameron Prescott, the 6-year-old boy who had been playing inside while the shootout took place right outside his home.
He got caught up in the crossfire when a bullet penetrated the wall and fatally pierced through his torso.
The boy was pronounced dead at the University hospital. He was in the trailer at the time of the shootout with his parents who were not injured.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar says the woman has no apparent connection to the child or his family. It also remains unclear as to what prompted the deputies to open fire during their final confrontation with the woman as no firearm was found on her.
The investigators could not find the gun she had used to threaten the deputy with during their earlier confrontation. While they are not sure if she lost the weapon or discarded it during the chase, the search for the gun continues.
Salazar said he's not sure who fired the shot that killed the boy and what prompted them to shoot. “We don’t want to leave any stone unturned,” Salazar. “We want everybody to have answers here. Right now, it’s just too soon to tell.”
"I haven't personally interviewed the deputies — I don't know what they saw," he said.
Sheriff's office policy allows deputies to use fatal weapons against a person who's a likely threat either to them or to another person. However, Salazar isn't sure if the same rules apply if there are children and families involved in the line.
"I can definitively tell you that myself and all the deputies involved, there's not a single one us of that wouldn't trade places with this child," Salazar mentioned.
Though nothing happened to the deputies, they were pretty shaken up by the whole incident.
“It’s a tragedy, obviously,” Salazar said. While reading this case one cannot help but recall the tragic incident involving Jeremy Mardis and Aiyana Jones.
Officer Joseph Weekley was part of a SWAT team in 2010 when he shot a sleeping child in the head during a raid executed on the wrong home.
The raid was being filmed for an episode of The First 48, where excessive tactics were used to create drama and excitement for the camera. Unfortunately, a beautiful little girl, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, lost her life because of his reckless and violent actions.
After a 5-year suspension, Weekly returned to his role as a police officer.
Earlier this year, two officers were found guilty of the murder of an innocent little 6-year-old boy, Jeremy Mardis. Similar to this case, the officers were forced to open fire at the unarmed suspect when Mardis was gunned down in a hail of bullets.
The trailer park neighborhood, according to reports, was 'packed with children' who'd just started with their Christmas break. For one family, however, this Christmas turned out to be a nightmare.
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