A two-year-old Texas boy was fatally shot and his father and another male were wounded in what appears to be a home invasion robbery gone bad.
According to police, Ivory West Jr. (also known as TJ), his father, and his father’s friend were sitting in the garage of their townhouse near Houston when two men approached them and began shooting.
TJ’s father was shot multiple times and taken by Life Flight medical helicopter to Memorial Hermann Hospital-Texas Medical Center, where he is in critical condition.
The father’s friend was shot in the leg and is in stable condition.
Paramedics pronounced TJ dead at the scene.
“This is unacceptable,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said at a Wednesday press conference. “This is our community and when you are shooting kids … this is senseless and unacceptable. I know our community joins us in saying that this has to stop and we’ve got to get these people off the street and hold them accountable.”
“They really are crossing the line when they are out there committing these crimes,” he added. “And again we are seeing way too much gun violence, especially focused on our children. There was no reason that a 2-year-old had to be dead this morning.”
So far, the motive appears to be robbery.
“The garage door was up and maybe they were just victims of opportunity,” he said. “We will determine as we go on if there were any other motive or connection to it. The main goal is to first find out who did it.”
Gonzalez said the boy’s mother was upstairs with a 2-month-old baby and heard fireworks before the shooting.
“[Fireworks] is indeed a consistent thing we heard,” he said. “Several people heard some fireworks going on prior to the shooting. We don’t know if it was a random act or maybe some type of ploy to distract people. But there were some fireworks that went off.”
Gonzalez said after the boy’s mother heard the fireworks, she went downstairs, where she was accosted by one of the suspects who placed a gun to her head and demanded money.
“It was a very brazen attack,” said Gonzalez. “They came in guns a blazing.”
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The suspects are described as African American males between the ages of 25 and 35, and 5’ feet 11 inches to 6 feet tall.
One of the suspects was wearing a black hoodie with Nike gold letters emblazoned across the front, with a black cap and black pants. The other suspect was wearing a red cap and grey T-shirt.
“These are very dangerous individuals that I think collectively we must all be concerned about,” Gonzalez said. “We are going to do all we can to make sure we solve this case. Every shooting we take very seriously. Every death we take very seriously. But this is unacceptable when a child is involved. This is personal to all of us.”
Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 713-221-6000 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.