A 9-year-old girl on the way to the grocery store with her family was shot in the head during a suspected road rage incident on a freeway in Houston, Texas, according to police.
Police said a family of four had been traveling in a vehicle on the Southwest Freeway, near Fondren Road, when they got into a dispute with at least one person in a white truck at about 9 p.m. on Tuesday, according to CBS affiliate KHOU11. At some point shots were fired and the girl was hit in the head, officers said.
The suspect fled in their vehicle and the family, who were driving a Chevrolet Tahoe, pulled over at a gas station where they called the emergency services. The girl was taken to a hospital in the Houston area in an unknown condition.
Investigators said the girl had undergone surgery on Tuesday night, although there was no update on the girl’s condition as of early Wednesday morning.
Following the shooting, a Houston Police Department (HPD) spokesperson told KHOU11 and other reporters: “What they’re (the family) telling us right now is they were heading down the road. They observed a white truck and another vehicle that looked like maybe they were racing.
“Somehow our complainants got in between the individuals and so, one of those individuals in the race decided to go after our complainants. They were in a white truck. A Hispanic male and a Hispanic female, adults, we believe it’s going to be a white GMC Denali.
“The specific thing about it, it possibly had the blinkers on it, maybe had arrow directions, is what possibly they (the family) were thinking. But they drove and started shooting into the Tahoe and sadly enough a little 9-year-old girl was shot in the head.”
He later added: “Just another tragic incident that has occurred and so prayers for this family and their little girl. She’s in surgery, [I’m] praying that she does make it.”
No arrests have been made. Newsweek has contacted the HPD for comment.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, a database that collects information from shootings across the U.S., 37 children aged 11 or lower have been killed and six injured nationwide by a firearm since January 1 this year.
Last month, an 11-month-old girl was shot in the face by a stray bullet as she sat in a parked car with her mother in the Bronx, New York.
The baby and her mother had been waiting on Valentine Avenue while the girl’s father was inside a nearby deli at about 6:45 p.m. on January 19.
On the same street, a man armed with a gun fired two shots at another man who he was chasing. One of the bullets struck the car and hit the girl on her left cheek.