Man shoots 8 year old in the face - **UPDATE
A 46-year-old Dallas, TX man, Brian Cloninger, was arrested Tuesday (September 3) night after a shοοting that left a 7-year-old boy in critical condition.
The child, who was identified by family members as Donald Maiden Jr., suffered a gυnshot wound to the face at the La Bella Palms apartment complex in Northeast Dallas. The child was taken to the Children's Medical Center in Dallas and Dallas CBS-affiliate 11 News has reported that Maiden is out of surgery in critical but stable condition.
One witness, Justin Yancy, said he saw Maiden with his friends playing the familiar childhood game of "tag".
"The next thing I know, I heard a loud ‘bang,' and he ran around the corner with a mouth full of blοοd," Yancy said.
Witnesses then pointed authorities to a pickup truck that was parked nearby where officers arrested Brian Cloninger for the shοοting and charged with injury to a child.
Maiden's grandmother said he was playing outside with other children and he ran inside to get some toys and was s**t as he went back outside.
"He hit the ground when the guy s**t him," said grandmother Sharon Locklin. "Then, he got up and ran to the house and asked his mom for water, and his mom saw all the b***d coming out."
Shocked and outraged residents are confused as to what may have lead to such unexpected viοlence.
"I'm coming to pick up my son from work and I come back to this. What is going on? They say a kid mouth was s**t off," said startled neighbor Mae Anderson. "I'm like, who would do this? What bad stuff could he have done for someone to do that to him."
Cloninger was booked into Lew Sterret Jail on a $2.2 million bond.
Police currently do not have a motive for the shοοting and officials are busy trying to find one. One of Maiden's family members said that Cloninger pointed a gυn at the apartment maintenance man earlier on that Tuesday. Donald Maiden Jr., a third grader, is expected to survive the shοοting and had just celebrated his birthday on Sunday.
Boy Shot in Face Tells Family: "I Look Like a Monster"
Ray Villeda, NBC 5 News
D.J. Maiden, seen here on his first day of school, has been in the hospital since he was shot in the face on Sept. 3 at his apartment complex.
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Life may never be the same for an 8-year-old who was shot in the face a month ago.
D.J. Maiden has been in a Dallas hospital since the Sept. 3 shooting. His grandmother, Sharon Locklin, said he may never regain feeling in his jaw.
"He don't want the kids to look at his face," said his grandmother, Sharon Locklin. "He says, 'I look like a monster, granny.' I'm like, 'No, you don't.'"
After being at Children's Medical Center of Dallas, Maiden is now being treated at Baylor Medical Center. In a few weeks, he will undergo another surgery.
Police have not revealed what the motive for the shooting may have been. Maiden was shot at his apartment complex just days after he turned 8.
Brian Cloninger, 46, is accused of shooting the boy. He is being held on a felony injury to a child charge.
Locklin, backed by community activists, is calling for attempted murder charges.
"We don't want him to be on the streets," she said. "No matter what charges is, we want him to stay in."
The Dallas County District Attorney's Office said in a statement that the serious bodily injury to a child charge is a first-degree felony that has a tougher sentence -- five to 99 years or life in prison -- than an attempted murder charge, which is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison.
"The prosecutors go for the appropriate punishment to keep a dangerous criminal off the streets," the DA's office said. "We go for stiffer punishment, especially when a kid is involved."
Cloninger has a bond reduction hearing scheduled for Oct. 10.
"He told his mom, 'If that man hadn't done this to me, I wouldn't be here in the hospital,'" Locklin said. "He hates the hospital."
Maiden's mother has been at his bedside since the shooting. His siblings at home have been terrified.
"He (has) a 4-year-old brother; every time somebody knocks on the door, he runs to the back of the house. He's afraid," she said.
Dallas police were on hand for a family news conference on Wednesday. Police Chief David Brown met with the family.
"I just want to reassure them that everything the Dallas Police Department and city of Dallas can do in order to affect and follow up on this case, we will do," Sgt. Keitric Jones said.
Maiden hopes to be home by Halloween. He's speaking through a trach and doing some schoolwork while at the hospital.
The family has set up an account at 1st Convenient Bank in hopes of getting donations to help with medical expenses. Contributions can be sent to:
1st Convenient Bank
Account of Sharon Locklin for Donald Maiden Jr.