NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) –A 22-year-old man was hit with multiple charges late Saturday, in connection with a shooting that wounded a 3-year-old boy in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn.
Akeen Bernard was charged Saturday night with assault, criminal possession of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child, and tampering with evidence, police told 1010 WINS.
Details of the charges were not immediately released. The relationship of the suspect to the boy was not immediately learned.
The 3-year-old — identified by neighbors as Tharell Edward — was struck in the left side of the head in the apartment where he lived on East 21st Street in Brooklyn. The bullet exited out the back.
Tharell was stabilized and taken to Kings County Hospital in critical condition. He was then transported to Columbia Presbyterian and finally Weill Cornell Medical Center, 1010 WINS reported.
As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, Tharell’s mother was not home at the time of the shooting. He was with a female babysitter and another man who has become a person of interest in connection with the shooting.
Neighbors told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall that they were shocked and disgusted by the shooting.
“I know the mother and she take care of the boy good”, one woman said.
Neighbor Joselyn Harris told Burrell: “it hurts me, it hurts me – my arm; my body is trembling. He’s a nice little boy; nice little baby.”
The toddler lives inside a second-floor apartment neighbors said he shares with his mother.
Detectives said the shooting happened around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. When they arrived, they found the Tharell’s pierced by the bullet that went in the left side and exited the back.
“I think it’s absolutely horrible,” said neighbor Karyn Williams. “I think I’m still in shock, and more concerned generally about how that happens to a 3-year-old.”
Neighbors who know the family well said this was not the first time the boy has been the victim of unfortunate circumstances. They said just a few months ago, the toddler was mauled by a pit bull.
“A pit bull bit him, now that come and happen to him,” said neighbor Janet Flemming.
“He went through a lot,” added neighbor Jacintha Flemming. “He went through a great deal.”
Neighbors said Tharell was born premature at 7 months, and the injuries from the dog attack require him to wear a colostomy bag.
“The kids walking around with a colostomy bag and all of a sudden he gets shot in the head. That’s not what a three-year-old is supposed to be going through. He’s supposed to be playing with other kids,” James Nichols said.
Police said as of Saturday evening, Tharell was recovering in critical, but stable, condition.
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