TEXAS CITY — An 8-year-old boy who was shot in the face by a 7-year-old relative in a West Texas City apartment complex on Thursday “is out of the woods” and is expected to live, police said.
As police continue to piece together what led to the shooting, investigators are trying to find the mother’s boyfriend, who was supposed to be watching the boys.
The wounded boy, who has not been identified because of his age, was one of three children, ages 7, 8 and 9, left unattended in an apartment at the Harbor Oaks complex, 8601 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway, police said.
The 8-year-old and 9-year-old boys are brothers who live in the apartment with their mother and her boyfriend. The 7-year-old is the cousin of the boy who was shot and was visiting that day.
Texas City Police Capt. Joe Stanton said the wounded boy was recovering in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. Stanton got a report from medical officials Friday afternoon that while the boy is still in critical condition he “is out of the woods, as far as life threatening injuries are concerned.”
Stanton said the 7-year-old wouldn’t face charges given his age.
Police are trying to find the boyfriend.
State law makes it illegal for an adult to leave a gun unsecured when there are children in the home.
“We don’t know where he was,” Stanton said. “We are attempting to verify his whereabouts.”
For now investigators just want to talk with the man.
“We’re trying to run him down so we can ask him some questions,” Stanton said. Police are not identifying the man.
The mother, a home health worker, was at work at the time of the shooting. She has been at the hospital with her son since the shooting.
Stanton said there was no indication the .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol was kept in a lock box or had a trigger guard.
Police are not saying whether they think the shooting was accidental or deliberate.
“We cannot determine whose gun it is at this time,” he said. “We have several interviews scheduled (Friday) and hope to have a clearer picture on (the boyfriend’s) whereabouts and the person responsible for the gun.”
Child Advocacy Center experts were interviewing the children, Stanton said.
Child Protective Services is also conducting an investigation.