A 10-month-old girl is hospitalized in critical condition after being shot in the head early Sunday, according to the Fresno Police Department.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the child, identified as Fayth Percy, is hospitalized in critical but stable condition. Bullet fragments were removed from the child’s head during surgery, Dyer said.
The suspect, identified as Marcos Antonio Echartea, is in custody. Dyer described the suspect as someone who has “no regard for human life, even a baby.”
“I know the parents are broken. They are hurting. We held hands at the hospital and prayed for the baby, and we’re asking that everyone in this community come together and pray for baby Fayth for a complete recovery,” Dyer said.
The shooting was preceded by a gathering that happened at 3607 E. Hammond Ave. in Fresno, Dyer said.
The child’s mother, identified as 18-year-old Deziree Menagh, had gone to the Hammond Avenue address with the baby. Inside the home was Echartea, whom she’d met a week prior. He attempted to grab the mother’s hand, and she pulled away.
Dyer said the mother went outside and told others what had happened. Later, Echartea tried to get the mother to sit in his lap. She resisted and pulled away.
The mother and a male friend left the home with the child, driving away. The driver then made a U-turn and was parking at 5th Street and Hammond Avenue. The mother and her friend then noticed Echartea walking quickly toward their car.
“At some point when he got close, he pulled out a handgun and fired three rounds into the driver’s side window, which was up,” Dyer said. “One of those rounds struck baby Fayth on the side of the head as she was being held by her mother Deziree, who was seated in the right front passenger seat.”
Dyer said police believe Echartea knew there was a baby in the car, but fired his gun anyway.
Police responded to the Hammond Avenue residence, located Echartea and arrested him on suspicion of three counts of attempted murder.
He was also wanted for a shooting that happened on May 27 around 9 p.m. in the 2200 block of East Rialto Avenue, where he allegedly fired into a residence.
In that case, Dyer said the residence was occupied by Echartea’s 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. “That bullet landed approximately 1 foot from where the baby was.”
Echartea is also expected to be charged with felony shooting into an inhabited dwelling, plus assault with a deadly weapon, for the Rialto Avenue case.
Anyone with information about the incident can call the Fresno Police Department at 559-621-7000.