A man allegedly shot a 10-month-old baby in the head after her mother rejected him at a party, police said.
Officials in Fresno, California, say 23-year-old Marcos Antonio Echartea had continuously hounded Deziree Menagh at a party Saturday night. Echartea allegedly met the 18-year-old woman the week before and, when he ran into her at the gathering, tried to grab her hand.
Menagh, who lives close to the house, reportedly arrived at the party hours earlier with her daughter, Fayth Percy. Detectives say she rebuffed Echartea after he followed her inside, and she told her family and friends what happened. Later, while sitting on the porch, Echartea allegedly tried to pull Menagh onto his lap, but, again, she resisted and decided to leave the party.
"It was very apparent that he wanted a relationship with her," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said at a news conference Sunday.
After gathering her daughter, Menagh got into a male friend's car and drove away, but when they made a U-turn and prepared to stop about a block away, Dyer said, they saw Echartea walking rapidly toward them.
When he got to the car, Echartea reportedly fired three rounds into the driver's side window, striking Fayth in the side of her head as her mother, in the passenger seat, held her in her arms.
"We have every reason to believe that Marcus knew that baby Fayth was in that vehicle when he fired three rounds into that vehicle," Dyer said.
The driver immediately called police and started driving to the hospital. While on the phone, the dispatcher told him there were officers nearby, who helped care for the baby until the ambulance arrived.
Fayth remains in critical condition after doctors removed bullet fragments from her head Sunday.
“We are hoping and praying that baby Fayth is able to survive this injury, as well as make a full recovery,” Dyer said, emphasizing that if the window had been down, the baby probably would not have survived. “I know the parents are broken. They’re hurting.”
Detectives arrested Echartea at the house, and he was subsequently charged with three counts of attempted murder.
The 23-year-old is also the suspect in another shooting that was "over a female." On the night of May 27, he went to the home of his ex-girlfriend's boyfriend and fired numerous rounds inside, almost striking another child, Dyer said.
"In that case, one of the bullets penetrated the wall and nearly struck a 1-year-old who was inside," Dyer said.
Echartea is now facing multiple felony counts related to that shooting as well, including assault with a deadly weapon.
"It's very apparent that Marcos Echartea has no regard for human life, even a baby," Dyer said.