3-year-old girl shot and critically wounded her pregnant mom in a Maryville, Indiana strip mall parking lot with a loaded handgun she found in the car
A 3-year-old girl shot and critically wounded her pregnant mom in an Illinois parking lot with a loaded handgun she found in the car, according to police reports.
The bullet penetrated the car seat and struck the 21-year-old mom in the shoulder at a Merrillville strip mall Tuesday afternoon, police said.
The woman is believed to be at least six weeks pregnant, according to the Times of Northwest Indiana.
Some witnesses heard the lone gunshot while others heard the woman’s pained screams and found her stumbling out of the car with blood “pouring out of her.”
“She was just saying ‘Help, help,’” said one witness.
Menzo Brazier, the girl’s dad who stashed the gun in the car was taken into custody
Another bystander said the father, who was inside Plato’s Closet store trying on clothes, stormed outside screaming in disbelief.”The little kid was standing next to her, not saying anything. Just out of breath,” store employee Hadassah Zirkle said.
Zirkle said employees took the woman’s daughter and 1-year-old son inside the store to keep them away from the crime scene.
Police said the father stashed the 9mm handgun in the center console to go inside the secondhand clothing store.
The woman was transported to Methodist Hospital’s Southlake campus.
She is listed in critical but stable condition. Detective Sgt. James Bogner says the girl “had no idea what she had done and she was very scared.”
Police say the couple had traveled to Merrilville from Michigan City to get the woman pregnancy care.
The boyfriend, Menzo Brazier, was taken to Lake County jail where he was held on child endangerment charges after the shooting, which police believe was accidental. The children were placed in protective custody while the investigation continues.
“It should have never happened. Should have been locked in the trunk and unloaded,” Merrillville police Chief Joe Petruch said during a press conference.
Police said the expect to meet with the prosecutor’s office Thursday to determine additional charges.