HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A mother was shot and killed early Thursday morning in front of her 3-year-old son in Houston's Acres Homes neighborhood, police said. The bullet came from someone outside of her vehicle, and now, police are searching for the gunman.
Family members identified the victim as 34-year-old Danielle "Danny" Banks.
Houston police responded to a shooting call at 2800 West Gulf Bank Road near West Montgomery Road at 2:45 a.m. Thursday.
At the scene, officers found Banks dead inside her car, which was crashed out on the side of the road. Her front-seat passenger, a 41-year-old man, was injured.
"My only baby, my only baby," cried Lisa Callaway, Banks' mom.
HPD said both the man and Banks had multiple gunshot wounds. The man was taken to the hospital, where he underwent surgery.
The woman's 3-year-old son was in the backseat during the shooting and crash, HPD said. He was not injured.
"My grandbaby had to witness that. He said, 'My mommy dead.' She had red stuff all over her," Callaway said.
Investigators said they were not completely sure if the shooting was an act of road rage.
Callaway says Banks was a jack of all trades, but her latest passion project was her food truck business.
Just before the shooting, she had wrapped up a catering event, according to Callaway and went to pick up her son from daycare.
Then, her uncle says she dropped the truck at a lot close to the shooting scene.
"When she did that, you know, pulling off from the site where she left her truck. Once they got to where the lights were, and this car come up to them and just start randomly shooting inside," Michael Callaway, Banks' uncle, said.
"At this point, we really don't know what led up to this event or what happened. We are trying to put the pieces together," Asst. Chief J. Anderson said.
Witnesses told police they saw two cars, including the victim's vehicle, speeding eastbound down West Gulf Bank when someone inside of a white vehicle opened fire.
"They said a white vehicle left after this crash and traveled to West Montgomery, turning northbound," Anderson said.
A tire on the white car blew out as it made a turn, investigators said. An officer spotted the white car as two passengers attempted to change a tire.
They were both detained, questioned, and released without charges filed, HPD said. Investigators believe a third person, the shooter, fled on foot before officers arrived.
"I wish the person - whomever done it, if he didn't have a heart before - have one now to bring closure to the family and her son. He's 3 years old and he was in the backseat. It couldn't have been nothing that drastic," Callaway said.
Now, Banks' son is staying with Callaway.
"I can't imagine the trauma that he's feeling and the shock of what this event must have been. Thankfully, officers were able to get him to his grandmother and in the care of family so that he's being taken care of. HFD came out very quickly to check on him. He's completely fine. No apparent injuries, but I can imagine this being a very traumatic event for him," Anderson said.
Although police have not said whether this was a road rage incident, they did say the best advice when situations escalate on the road is to pull back and slow down.
"I am just in a state of shock," Callaway said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or speak anonymously with Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.