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'My baby could have died last night' | Mother of 3-year-old grazed by bullet speaks out

A toddler and 13-year-old boy were injured when they were caught in the crossfire Monday.

WASHINGTON — Frustration, trauma and anger. Those are the emotions flowing through one D.C. mother the day after her toddler became a survivor of gun violence

With thick layers of gauze wrapped around her skull, 3-year-old Shakur Stewart is a haunting reminder of the growing gun violence problem in D.C. On Monday, Shakur, and her 13-year-old neighbor, were injured when they were caught in the crossfire of a shooting. 

 “My heart, my soul left my body and I panicked," Shakur's mother, Chaunte Stewart, said. "This place is not where you want to raise kids." 

DC Police responded to the 700 block of 18th Street in Northeast, D.C. Monday night for a reported shooting involving two children.

"My baby could have died last night," Stewart said. 

Both children survived and are recovering, however, the emotional damage is something both families are dealing with. Stewart is traumatized by the reality that members of her community have no regard for the children who live there. 

Stewart said her children were sitting outside with the neighbor’s children when a bullet grazed Shakur's head. She later realized that the bullet struck the 13-year-old boy’s leg.

“I didn't know my neighbor's son was shot," she said. "I see my daughter, there's blood trickling down her head. My automatic thing was to apply pressure." 

According to Stewart, moments before the shooting, the 13-year-old was holding Shakur and had put her down for a moment. That’s when the bullet struck.

“If he hadn’t put her down in time, that bullet that went into his leg could’ve been in my daughter’s head," Stewart said. "That’s how bad it was. It just came out of nowhere." 

Stewart is frustrated that her normally bubbly toddler was grazed by a bullet, and she has a question for the shooters.

“Everybody screaming, 'Black lives matter, but does it?'" Stewart asked. "Y’all still killing each other, one by one all the time. Stop shooting, put the guns down, leave it alone.”

Detectives haven’t been able to say much about the shooter, but say the investigation is ongoing and they’re looking for a dark Nissan with tinted windows.

Police are asking the community for help as this is the second shooting in that community in a weeks time. A few days before the shooting, six people were shot about a half-mile from where the children were injured; one of the victims died. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact MPD at 202-727-9099 or text the department's tip line at 50411.

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