A police department in Hugo, Oklahoma has finally released the names of two officers involved in the shooting of three very young children, more than a week after the horrifying incident occurred, Ebony reports.
The officers involved are detectives Billy Jenkins and Chad Allen, according to the Hugo Police Department. The officers allegedly opened fire on a vehicle being driven by William Devaughn Smith, 21. The bullets struck three of four children who were sitting in the back of the pickup truck Smith was driving.
The detectives suspected Smith of robbing a nearby pizza shop.
The kids are between the ages of one and five years old, The Root reports.
“My four-year-old daughter was shot in the head, and she has a bullet in her brain, and my five-year-old has a skull fracture,” the children’s mom, Olivia Hill, told a local TV station. “My one-year-old baby has gunshot wounds on her face. My two-year-old wasn’t touched with any bullets.”
Police are claiming the shooting began because Smith was trying to run them over with his truck, but more than a few people are disputing this, saying officers could have moved out of the way instead of opening fire, especially since young children were involved.
But that’s not all. The officers were dressed in plain clothes that day, so Smith may not have even known the two men approaching him with guns drawn were police officers.
“If you don’t know if someone is law enforcement or not, it changes things,” said family attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, in an interview with The Free Thought Project. “I don’t know what happened, but that’s concerning to me.”
Each of the kids who were wounded has since been released from the hospital, but they are still dealing with “a lot of physical and emotional pain,” Simmons said.
And the kids are frightened, he added.
“They are terrified to go anywhere or hear anything,” he said. “The two-year-old keeps asking about ‘Am I going to get shot again.’ It’s a bad deal. The child who had a bullet in the brain, there’s some question now that she may have a permanent injury. She might be looking at a lifetime injury.”
Police were looking for Smith in connection to a robbery in a local Pizza Hut on April 11. He was also wounded in the incident and was taken to a Paris, Texas hospital, Oklahoma’s News 4 reports. He was subsequently released and then arrested by Paris police in connection with the armed robbery.
Jenkins and Allen are on paid administrative leave. And three children are left with a trauma that they will most likely deal with for the rest of their lives.
Featured image courtesy of Ebony video