HOUSTON — The family of 9-year old Ashanti Grant is asking anyone who drove through southwest Houston on Tuesday night to think back.
Did you see a white GMC Denali truck with arrow signals on its side mirrors? If you did, was the driver of the truck driving erratically? If they were, please call Houston Police.
The family of the Alvin ISD elementary school student continues to share details of a Tuesday night shooting that happened during a possible fit of road rage. They’re trying to help Houston police identify and ultimately arrest the driver of the Denali truck who family members said shot at their SUV multiple times, shooting Ashanti in the head.
“Cars were going everywhere trying to avoid,” said the 4th grader's uncle who was in the vehicle with Ashanti at the time of the shooting. He even said the truck had sped up and drove alongside the family's SUV at some point.
The uncle, who would like to be publicly identified as Kevin, is convinced other drivers saw the danger along Highway 59 somewhere between the Sam Houston Tollway and the Fondren exit.
“Somebody had to,” and to those drivers, Kevin says, “I would just ask them to do the right thing.”
The Grant family fears without an arrest, another innocent person could end up in a situation like they did Tuesday.
“Life is precious.”
We see just how painfully precious life feels to the Grant family. Surveillance cameras at a gas station at the corner of Fondren and the Southwest Freeway captured the family pulling into the parking lot as they first realized their little girl had been shot.
Kevin, who is seen wearing a red sweatshirt, was trying to console Ashanti’s mother as she screamed and agonized over the hurt done to her daughter.
“The only thing I’ll say is that’s real reaction. That’s real life,” Kevin said. “Something I wish that never happened.”
Kevin shared his perspective from that night with KHOU 11. His brother, Ashanti’s dad, had just picked up her mother along the beltway. Kevin and Ashanti’s brother were also in the family’s SUV.
Kevin said the father stopped at a light under a Beltway 8 overpass and was waiting to turn left onto the northbound Highway 59 feeder road. Kevin recalls Ashanti’s mood as she sat in the backseat of the vehicle.
“She was cheerful," he said. "She was happy because she loves to go to the grocery store with her mom.”
As the light turned green, Kevin said he remembers a white GMC Denali truck cutting off the family in the dedicated turning lane. He said the truck came from the lane farthest from the left side of the street before it took a sharp right, nearly hitting another vehicle along the way.
Kevin said Ashanti’s dad let the truck pass before speeding up to enter the highway.
“Like he was racing us or something,” he said. “First thing I told my brother was, 'That dude's crazy. Let’s get away from him.' Because I know we got kids in the car.”
Kevin said the next thing he knew, someone was shooting at the back of the family’s SUV. A dangerous escalation that happened so fast.
“He was just shooting a lot,” eventually hitting 9-year old Ashanti Grant and hurting everyone who loves her.
“You know, you see this stuff on the news. You never think it will happen to you.”
This is why Houston Crime Stoppers is hoping a $5,000 reward will convince someone to help police arrest that shooter.
The Grant family says the shooting happened between the Sam Houston Tollway and Fondren along 59 in southwest Houston.
Family says Ashanti remains in a medically-induced coma as doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital attempt to reduce the swelling in her brain.