A man shot a 10-month-old baby in the head after the child’s mother rejected his advances at a party in California, police said.
Marcos Antonio Echartea, 23, was arrested Sunday and charged with three counts of attempted murder. The wounded baby, Fayth Percy, has been hospitalized ever since.
“We are hoping and praying that baby Fayth is able to survive this injury as well as make a full recovery,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said at a news conference hours after the shooting on Sunday.
Police say Deziree Menagh, 18, brought her daughter Fayth to the gathering, where Echartea tried to touch the mother without her consent at least two times. She told police that she had only met Echartea once before.
Menagh told police that Echartea first tried to grab her hand but she pulled away. Later, she said, he tried to grab her and pull her into his lap but she resisted again.
The teen mother then decided to take her baby and leave the party with a male friend early Sunday morning, police said. The three of them got into a car ― with Menagh in the passenger’s seat and her male friend driving ― and drove about a half a block away, according to police.
That’s when police say Echartea approached the vehicle and fired three rounds from a handgun into the driver’s side. One of the bullets pierced the driver’s side window and struck Fayth in the side of the head as Menagh held her in her arms, police said.
Police received a 911 call about the shooting and nearby officers were able to render first aid to Fayth until paramedics arrived. The baby was then transported to the hospital, where she underwent surgery to remove bullet fragments from her head.
Fayth was listed in critical but stable condition as of Sunday, Dyer said at the news conference.
Shortly after the shooting, Echartea was detained and identified as the shooter, police said. He was booked into Fresno County Jail and charged with three counts of attempted murder.
Echartea was also wanted for another shooting that occurred a few miles away on May 27. Police say he fired numerous rounds into a house that belonged to his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend.
“In that case, one of the bullets penetrated the walls and nearly struck another 1-year-old who was inside,” Dyer said Sunday. “That bullet landed approximately one foot from where the baby was.”
Echartea will also be charged with multiple felony counts related to the May 27 shooting, including assault with a deadly weapon, police said.
“Very apparent that Marcos Echartea has no regard for human life ― even a baby,” Dyer said Sunday. “I know the parents [of Fayth] are broken. They’re hurting. ... It tears my heart up to see a baby of that age lying in the hospital.”