HOUSTON – A 5-year-old boy was accidentally shot to death by his autistic older brother at a motel in west Houston Tuesday morning, police said.
It happened around 10 a.m. at the Motel 6 on I-10 at Grisby, where police said the boy’s family had been living for a year.
Investigators said the siblings were alone in the motel room when the 7-year-old got his hands on a rifle and shot his brother in the torso.
The little boy fell off the bed and died.
Witness Cindy LeBlanc said she heard the boy’s cries, though she didn’t know that’s what it was at the time.
"We thought it was a dog crying or whining loudly but we couldn’t figure out what it was," said LeBlanc.
Police said the father had stepped out to pay their monthly motel bill when the shooting happened, and the boys’ mother has been in jail for at least two weeks. It was not clear why she was arrested.
Investigators said the 7-year-old ran to get his dad after the shooting, and that’s when 911 was called.
"Well the dad had a gun so I don’t know if the gun was in the room or the truck," said Sgt. Bobby Roberts of HPD Homicide. "We don’t know exactly where it was at when this happened."
The family reportedly moved to Houston from California, because the dad needed to find a job.
But a year later, he was still looking. He told police he was planning to pawn the gun and some power tools to help make ends meet.
Witnesses described the sad scene Tuesday morning, saying they saw paramedics bring the boy’s lifeless body out to a waiting ambulance.
"They were holding him under his arms," said LeBlanc. "He was just limp."
Officers later removed a cat and a chicken from the room.
HPD Homicide investigators were interviewing the father and the older brother Tuesday afternoon.
"The father is pretty distraught. I haven’t talked to the child, he’s a young child. I’m gonna have him interviewed by a psychologist, rather than me. He’s just got his head down. I’m sure he’s pretty distraught as well," Roberts said.
The father could face charges.
The victim’s identity has not been released.