Child shot in road rage incident when family was on the way to grocery store, police say

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A 9-year-old was shot in the head in an apparent road rage incident Tuesday night in southwest Houston.

Ashanti Grant, who is a fourth grader at Savannah Lakes Elementary in Brazoria County, remains in critical condition.

"You're just numb. You cry so much, there's no more tears next," said Ashanti's grandmother, Elaine Williams. "She's the sweetest little angel."

Williams is asking the community to pray for justice and healing.

"There's nothing you can do but just pray and ask everybody else to pray for her," Williams said.

That prayer request is being answered by fathers in the Brazoria County neighborhood where Ashanti lives and goes to school.

"It gets me kind of teared up because it makes me think about my own children," said Stephon Davis. "I'm just totally speechless. When I heard about it, my heart sank. So, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

"I have a son that goes to Lakes of Savannah, and I do a lot of traveling around Houston. It's scary. I just hope all these angry people stop all this foolishness," said a man named Kenneth.

The shooting happened at 9 p.m. at 9800 Southwest Freeway, as a family of four -- Ashanti, her mother, her father, and her 11-year-old brother -- were in a Tahoe headed to the grocery store.

Police believe they were going northbound on the freeway when they got between a white truck and another vehicle that appeared to be racing.

One of the racing drivers, believed to be in a white GMC Denali, cut off the family's vehicle several times. The Denali then got behind the family's vehicle and someone inside the Denali fired shots, wounding the girl in the head, police say.

The driver of the Tahoe was able to pull over at a Shell gas station at 7402 Fondren, where officers responded to a shooting call.

From there, paramedics took the child in critical condition to Texas Children's Hospital, where she underwent surgery.

"She's just an innocent child. She didn't deserve this," Williams said.

Ashanti's mom, dad and brother were not hurt. Now, they're all still at the hospital by her side.

"Meanwhile, this guy is still on the streets somewhere. He knows what he did," Williams said. "Somebody pick up the phone, even if you're related to them. You have to think about this kid, and how we feel that she's in the hospital fighting for her life. A bullet went in her head."

Police only had a vague description of the people in the Denali, saying the driver was a Hispanic man between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. He is believed to have short hair, and his passenger may have been a Hispanic woman.

Officials said they believe the Denali had arrows on the blinkers.

Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact the HPD Major Assaults & Family Violence Division at 713-308-8800 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. There's a $5,000 reward being offered for information that leads to an arrest in this case.

En Español: Niña de 9 años de edad recibe un disparo en la cabeza en una autopista del suroeste de Houston.

Editor's Note: Police originally said that the shooting happened on Fondren near the feeder road. In an update around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, they clarified to say the shooting happened on the Southwest Freeway.

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