The Houston Police Department has stepped up its search for the individual who shot a 9-year-old African American girl while she was watching cartoons in the back seat of her parents’ SUV.
Houston mayor Sylvester Turner said at a press conference that he and other community leaders are putting up $30,000 for anonymous information that lead to the arrest of the perpetrator(s).
Since being wounded by a bullet on Tuesday, Feb. 8, about 9:10 p.m., Ashanti Grant, 9, has been in critical condition in an induced coma, struggling for her life.
Two suspects, a Hispanic male driver, and a lady were in a white GMC Denali pickup truck along the 9800 block of Southwest Freeway, according to authorities.
When two automobiles rushed by, Ashanti was shot when her parents were taking her and her 12-year-old brother grocery shopping. The parents attempted but failed to get out of the way of the racing autos.
The pair in the white GMC allegedly focused their attention on the Grant family’s car and cut them off many times, according to the Houston Police Department. The male driver of the GMC climbed behind the wheel of the family’s Tahoe and fired a shot into the vehicle, striking Ashanti in the head as she sat in her seat watching cartoons.
The incident was not captured by any of the traffic cameras. The girl was brought to Texas Children’s Hospital by paramedics.
One witness told KHOU 11 that he and his family were driving on the Southwest Freeway feeder near Bissonnet when they heard gunshots. The man claims he came to a halt after seeing The Grant family’s automobile being trailed and shot at.
“From inside the car with the windows open, it was incredibly loud,” he claimed. “I felt terrible because I knew it was a case of road rage.” It was obvious that it was a case of road rage. I was in a bad mood. I hoped it wasn’t a child or a family with children.”
Turner said he was praying for the family during this time and was honored they would join him at the media briefing on Monday, Feb. 12, which was attended by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Crime Stoppers deputy director Nichole Christoff, and Ashanti’s parents.
“A cowardly deed has forever changed her young life. Someone… a criminal on our streets… who believes he or she is above the law and acts with callous disdain for human life. My advice is to turn yourself in because we won’t stop looking for you until we find you.”
The offenders are believed to be between the ages of 20 and 30, according to Houston police chief Troy Finner, and the truck is a 2017 model, according to his detectives.
“Sometimes we miss out on the human element,” he remarked. Please pray for Ashanti, but I’ll refer to her as “Princess” because that is exactly who she is. She is quite valuable. She’s one of our children. What matters most is that we all come together.
The chief reminded the public of their obligations, saying, “Even the streets have rules.” “I’m from the streets, too.” I am from this city, and we have called on every resident (of any background) to take action because someone knows something. When you put your hands on our kids in this city, we’re batting 1.000.”
Jackson Lee also spoke out about the incident after praising the mayor for his crime-fighting strategy. In her role as chair of Congress’s judicial crime committee, she collaborates with mayors across the country to combat crime.
“749 children were injured by guns in 2021,” she said before speaking on Ashanti. We haven’t even reached the first quarter of the year, and gun violence has already claimed the lives of 82 youngsters across the country.
“Ashanti … innocent … princess … loved by everyone … a smile comes to my face. As a mother let me simply say, don’t think about protecting the perpetrator. Think about this family and the pain they are going through.”
Ashanti’s aunt, Natasha Grant, has set up a GoFundMe to help with her medical bills. The family has raised less than $27,000 and is trying to earn $100,000 by the end of the campaign.