The Del Paso Heights community is rallying to help a homeless mother after her son was shot at a local park Sunday while trying to shield his infant sister.
Del Paso community activist Larry Craig said Monday that local pastors and community members were at the hospital with a woman whose 11-year-old son was one of three victims in the shooting at Mama Marks Park on Roanoke Avenue.
The boy remains in critical condition and will need further surgery, Craig said.
“They are handling it well,” Craig said of the family. “Of course they are traumatized.”
Craig said that while many of the details of the shooting are unclear, the 11-year-old boy may have been shot when he used his body to protect his baby sister, whom Craig said was about 6 months old.
“When the shots started flying, he laid down over the baby,” said Craig, who runs the nonprofit Rebranding You Brother to Brother.
An unidentified adult and 6-year-old girl were also shot at the park, according to police. Craig said the mother was not among the wounded.
Police spokesman Officer Matthew McPhail said the department is withholding further information because releasing it “could negatively impact the ongoing investigation.”
Craig said the mother of the unidentified boy has four children and is living on the streets with the three youngest. They were attending a birthday party when the shooting occurred at 3:55 p.m but were likely not the targets of the shooting, according to Craig.
The family was “just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.
Craig said that in addition to “being the family support they don’t have,” he and other community members are working to get them food and clothing.
Councilman Allen Warren, who represents the district where the shooting occurred, said his office was trying to help the family obtain housing. The city is working with the county to find hotel vouchers for the family, according to Warren and city homeless coordinator Emily Halcon.
“We have a very loving, caring community and a lot of times we get mischaracterized publicly,” Warren said. “But we have ... kind of an old fashioned, warm community that has supported each other for years and years. When something like this happens, somehow it’s made to appear that the entire community is plagued when that’s not the case.”
Donations to the family can be made through the office of Councilman Allen Warren at 916-808-7002 or through the Roberts Family Development Center at 916-646-6631.