by Terry Collins
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—A 1-year-old boy who was shot in the head during the filming of a rap music video in Oakland was taken off life support Dec. 9.
Hiram Lawrence, who would have turned 2 on Dec. 28, was pronounced dead at 3:05 p.m., Rev. Roosevelt Taylor said.
|SHOT IN THE HEAD—In this Dec. 7, photo, Brittany Houston and Hiram Lawrence, holding a photo of his son, talk about their son’s condition at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/The Tribune, Kristopher Skinner)
The boy’s family had held out hope that he would show some brain activity, but doctors at Children’s Hospital Oakland concluded after multiple tests that he was brain dead from the injuries he suffered in the shooting last month.
Outside the hospital, the boy’s mother, Brittany Houston, called for an end to the city’s violence.
“The shootings need to end. I shouldn’t have to lose my baby to a gunshot,” Houston said last Friday while surrounded by Hiram’s father, family and clergy members.
Houston showed off a tiny ink footprint of her son on her right forearm as a tribute.
“This is how I’m going to have to remember my baby because somebody wanted to start shooting,” Houston said. “I’ve got to be strong for my baby. He fought for 11 days.”
The family’s attorney, Ivan Golde, said they decided not to oppose the doctors in ending life support after bringing in a private pediatrician who agreed with the findings. Dozens of relatives and family friends flooded the hospital Friday to say their goodbyes and support Hiram’s parents as doctors conducted one final test, which was consistent with the others.
Hiram was being held by his father, also named Hiram Lawrence, when gunfire erupted as about 20 people gathered outside a west Oakland liquor store Nov. 28, police said. Six other people were wounded, including Hiram’s father, who was shot in the hand.
“He doesn’t deserve this,” the father said in his last public comments Dec. 7. “I was running around with the wrong people. It’s not my fault. It’s not my son’s fault.”
Police detained at least five possible suspects on unrelated charges but no arrests have been made.
Investigators have said the shooting occurred after one group of people fired on another group, and the second group fired back. A surveillance camera at State Market Liquors captured parts of the shooting, including three people wearing hooded sweatshirts firing from around the corner from the store.
Witnesses initially said Oakland rapper Kafani was the one making a video when the shooting occurred. But Kafani has said that while his promotional van was in the vicinity, he was not there.
Police said shortly after the shooting that investigators didn’t think Kafani had any significance in the case.