The father of a 17-month-old girl who was shot in the face Monday afternoon said the shooting was accidental.
The child, Ma’Laya Buie, was shot about 3:40 p.m. at the Pine Tree Apartments, 10375 Hamilton Plaza. She was rushed to Children’s Hospital & Medical Center by a private vehicle.
The girl’s father, Marquell Buie, 22, and a friend, Mosell Gulley, also 22, were listed on a police report as being in the apartment at the time of the shooting.
One or both of the men told officers that another toddler, about 2, had fired the shot that struck the girl in the head, according to a source familiar with the investigation who spoke on the condition of not being named.
Officials have not yet determined the accuracy of that account. The source said investigators were conducting ballistics tests and continuing to interview witnesses.
In a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, Marquell Buie said his daughter likes playing with her cousins, adding, “including the one who shot her.”
He declined to elaborate and said he did not want to discuss what happened.
Buie said his daughter is a “little goofball” who loved the TV show “Bubble Guppies.”
Ma’Laya was “doing the same,” he said, referring to her condition. Doctors, he said, were trying to stop the swelling in her head.
“Hopefully,” Buie said, “she’s back running around soon.”
An adult cousin of the toddler posted on Facebook that Ma’Laya is “the happiest baby I know.” The only time she doesn’t have a smile on her face, the cousin said, “is when she don’t have attention.”
“Thanks everybody for y’all prayers,” she said. “(W)e appreciate them but y’all just keep them coming.”