HOUSTON — Houston police are searching for the person who shot a 9-year-old girl in a fit of apparent road rage.
The family of Ashanti Grant says the little girl was shot in the head in southwest Houston just after 9 p.m. on Tuesday. Houston Crime Stoppers is currently offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the shooter.
“She’s just the perfect kid. Always sweet, nice,” said Ashanti’s uncle, Larry Grant.
He shared more photos and a video of his niece with KHOU 11 News in hopes the images compel anyone with information to come forward and help investigators.
“I feel like half of me is missing,” Larry Grant said of his niece, a fourth-grader at an Alvin ISD elementary school who Grant says is currently in an ICU at the Texas Medical Center. “We just lost our father and my father’s last words were take over the torch. Look over your family. And a month later, this happened.”
The Grant family says they’d just picked up a family member along the Beltway and were driving north on the Southwest Freeway, heading for a grocery store.
The family, stopped at a light and, told police they were cut off by the driver of a white GMC Denali pickup truck while preparing to turn onto the freeway feeder road. Larry Grant told KHOU 11 his brother sped off and entered the freeway in hopes of getting away from the driver of the truck.
“And the guy speeds, is behind my brother once again. Caught up with my brother. They were side by side on the freeway. And then the guy slows down on the freeway and started shooting,” he said.
Grant says his brother didn’t know his black Chevrolet Tahoe was a target until the back window of the SUV shattered.
“And my brother sped away, hit the next exit,” where eventually the Grant family would be seen on surveillance video pulling into a gas station at the corner of Fondren and the Southwest Freeway.
Larry Grant has seen the surveillance video. He wants everyone to watch it too.
“It kind of gives you the pain as a parent to see something like that," Larry Grant said. “It gives the people a first-hand of what would go through your mind of seeing your child being shot in the back of the head."
“And we’re just hoping the right people are seeing this on TV and makes them want to step forward. You know what? Let me do the right thing and do it for Ashanti.”
Do it for her family, who sit by her bedside in the ICU of Texas Children’s Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. Grant said his family is in constant prayer. Praying the brain swelling in Ashanti’s head to go down. Praying the case moves forward.
“If you know anything or seen anything, please step forward. Please do it for Ashanti. She’s 9 years old," said Larry Grant.
Young enough to believe in fairy tales, not old enough to understand why someone would shoot at her family on their way to the grocery store.
“I don’t want to see this happen to anybody else. I don’t want them to feel the pain that we’re going through,” he said.
Right now, the reward is up to $5,000 at Crime Stoppers, which is standard. KHOU 11 News asked the Mayor's Office if it would be increasing. A spokeswoman told us they are working with Houston Police, Crime Stoppers and other partners to explore all avenues to get justice for Ashanti.
Last week, Mayor Sylvester Turner addressed the rising gun violence in the city. He announced a program called "One Safe Houston." It included working with local business leaders to increase rewards for gun-related information.