A pregnant woman was accidentally shot by her three-year-old daughter as they sat in their parked car on Tuesday, after the woman’s boyfriend left his loaded handgun in the car to go shopping.
The incident happened just before 4pm on Tuesday, in the parking lot of a Plato’s Closet in Merrillville, Indiana.
Menzo Brazier, 21, left his 9mm handgun with an extended magazine on the center console of the car while he went into the used clothing store to shop.
While inside, his three-year-old daughter got a hold of the gun and accidentally shot her mother, 21-year-old Shanique Thomas – the bullet piercing her right shoulder after going through the back of her seat.
A 21-year-old pregnant woman was accidentally shot by her three-year-old daughter as they sat in this parked car in Merrillville, Indiana on Tuesday
Menzo Brazier left his girlfriend and their two kids in the car to go shopping, leaving behind his loaded handgun on the center console
While Brazier was in the store, his daughter grabbed the gun and accidentally shot her mother. Her one-year-old brother was also in the car at the time
Workers at the Plato’s Closet said they heard screaming from the parking lot and went outside to find a woman heavily bleeding.
‘There was blood flowing all from her stomach,’ Hadassah Zirkle, a Plato’s Closet employee, told NBC Chicago. ‘Just coming out like water, like a faucet and I screamed someone call 911.’
Zirkle noticed a bizarre exchange between Thomas and her boyfriend, who rushed to stop the bleeding as paramedics rushed to the scene.
‘The boyfriend was inside the store shopping so he ran outside because someone told him that there was a girl bleeding and he was yelling, “Did you kill yourself? Did you do this to yourself?”‘ Zirkle told WGN.
Thomas was rushed to the hospital where she was last reported in critical but stable condition. It’s unclear if the shooting impacted her unborn baby
Thomas was four to six weeks pregnant. The couple were in Merrillville to visit a Planned Parenthood
Witness Hadassah Zirkle (pictured) says that Brazier ran out of the store after hearing the gunshots and asked if his girlfriend had tried to kill herself
Brazier was arrested on charges of child endangerment. Their two kids are now in the custody of the Indiana Department of Child Services
Workers took the toddler and her one-year-old younger brother into the store to try and shield them from the bloody scene.
‘The first thought was to get the kids out of there,’ Rebecca Todd told WLS. ‘We grabbed them. We brought them inside, and we just tried comforting them as best we could.’
‘The poor little girl had blood on her jacket,’ Zirkle added. ‘Just looking at me, caressing my neck just holding on to me. I was telling her it was OK.’
Det. Sgt. James Bogner said that after the incident, the toddler ‘had no idea what she had done and was very scared’.
Thomas was taken to Loyola Hospital for treatment, where she was last reported in critical but stable condition. It’s unclear if her unborn baby was impacted by the shooting.
The couple and their two kids live in Michigan City, and were in town to visit a Planned Parenthood to get pregnancy care, authorities said. Thomas was four to six weeks pregnant.
Meanwhile, cops took Brazier into custody and charged him with child endangerment. He was book at the Lake County Jail. He was also wanted for traffic violations in Porter County.
The couple’s two children were placed in the custody of the Indiana Department of Child Services.