A 10-month-old girl is in critical condition after police say a man shot her in the head after the baby’s mother rejected him at a party.
Marcos Antonio Echartea, 23, was arrested Sunday in Fresno on suspicion of three counts of attempted murder after police said he shot into a car where the baby, her mother and a male friend were sitting.
The baby, Fayth Percy, is in critical but stable condition and had surgery Sunday to remove bullet fragments from her head, according to Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. There was no immediate update on her condition Monday.
“We’re very fortunate that she’s alive,” Dyer said in a news conference over the weekend. “It tears my heart up to see a baby of that age laying in the hospital.”
Detectives determined that Echartea and Fayth’s mother, 18-year-old Deziree Menagh, had met about a week ago and were at a gathering about 4 a.m. Sunday in the 3600 block of East Hammond Avenue.
Police say Echartea tried to hold Menagh’s hand inside the home, but she pulled away, leaving the house and telling people outside what had happened.
Later, while sitting on a porch at the home, Echartea tried to force Menagh onto his lap, authorities say. She again pulled away and went inside the residence to get her daughter before leaving the party with a male friend.
Menagh and the friend drove about a block away, then made a U-turn and were preparing to stop on Hammond Avenue. That’s when they saw Echartea walking quickly toward the car, police say.
He pulled out a handgun and fired three times into the driver’s side window, which was rolled up, Dyer said. Fayth was struck in the side of her head as Menagh held her in her arms.
Menagh’s friend called police as he drove Fayth to a hospital. At the direction of dispatchers, he stopped where nearby officers could help until an ambulance arrived.
Echartea was arrested at the Hammond Avenue residence later that day.
“We are hoping and praying that Baby Fayth is able to survive this injury as well as make a full recovery,” Dyer said. “I know the parents are broken. They’re hurting.”
Police said Echartea is a suspect in another shooting that also was “over a female.” He fired several times into a home belonging to his ex-girlfriend’s partner on May 27, Dyer said. In that shooting, a bullet penetrated a wall and came within a foot of striking a 1-year-old inside.
Echartea is now facing multiple felony charges, including attempted murder and firing into an occupied dwelling.