Jilted man opened fire on car near Fresno party, hitting woman’s infant daughter in the head, police say
By Eliott C. McLaughlin and Stella Chan, CNN
Deziree Menagh had shunned the man’s advances, police say, and she was trying to leave a Fresno, California, party — her 10-month-old Fayth Percy in her arms — when the man shot into a car, hitting her infant in the head.
Not only did Marcos Echartea, 23, fail to show any remorse, Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, but it isn’t the first time he’s been accused of recklessly opening fire with a baby involved. There was another alleged incident last month, the chief said.
“Very apparent that Marcos Echartea has no regard for human life, even a baby,” he said. “We have every reason to believe that Marcos Echartea knew that that baby, Fayth, was in that vehicle when he fired three rounds into that vehicle.”
In the latest shooting, Menagh, 18, and young Fayth were attending a birthday party early Sunday near Menagh’s home. Inside, Echartea, who she’d met once before, tried to grab her hand, but she pulled away, Dyer said.
She went outside and reported Echartea’s behavior to her friends. Later, as Echartea sat on the porch, he tried to pull Menagh onto his lap, the police chief said. Again, the teen resisted.
Menagh went back inside to retrieve Fayth. She carried Fayth to a vehicle driven by a friend, and they drove about a half block away, made a U-turn and were about to park when they noticed Echartea rapidly approaching the vehicle, Dyer said.
As Echartea neared, he pulled out a handgun and fired three rounds into the closed driver-side window, he said.
Fayth was hit in the head as she sat in her mother’s lap, he said.
The chief did not know why the driver made a U-turn but speculated that perhaps Menagh was waiting for Echartea to leave the party so she could go home, he said.
Police received a 911 call around 4 a.m. from a man who said he was transporting Fayth to a hospital, and the dispatcher informed him that there were officers about four blocks away from the party. The driver met those officers, who began performing first aid until paramedics arrived, Dyer said.
The child was transported to a hospital and underwent surgery to have bullet fragments removed from her head, the chief said. She is in critical but stable condition.
Echartea was also wanted for a May 27 shooting, in which he is accused of firing rounds into the home of his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend. One of the bullets pierced the wall and landed about a foot away from a 1-year-old baby, Dyer said.
He stands charged with three counts of attempted murder, in addition to several other felonies: assault with a firearm, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, discharging a firearm at an occupied dwelling, discharging a firearm in a negligent manner, endangering and causing injury to a child, conspiracy to commit assault with a firearm, among others.
President Donald Trump threatened Iran with “obliteration” Tuesday, saying an attack on “anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force.”
“In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!” the President tweeted.
Earlier Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the White House is “suffering from mental disability” and behaving as “no sane person” in the wake of new sanctions imposed by US this week — partly in retaliation over the downing of an American drone.
Those comments prompted a response from Trump who said “Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality.”
“Their leadership spends all of its money on Terror, and little on anything else. The U.S. has not forgotten Iran’s use of IED’s & EFP’s (bombs), which killed 2000 Americans, and wounded many more,” he added.
Trump’s figures regarding Iranian responsibility for American deaths appeared to be significantly higher than those provided by the State Department and the Pentagon in April, which said “at least 603 US personnel deaths in Iraq” were the result of attacks by Iran-backed militants between 2003 and 2011.
Rouhani also said those “in charge of the White House are feeling frustrated” by the state of play in the region, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency. He added that the US had wrongly expected to “create chaos” in Iran in two to three months, during his speech to senior health officials.
During an unannounced trip to Afghanistan, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Rouhani’s comments, “a bit immature and childlike.”
“But know that the United States will remain steadfast,” he added.
Tensions between the US and Iran are now at their highest level in years, coming on the back of last week’s downed US drone, but also stretching to 2018 when Trump walked away from the Iranian nuclear deal implemented by his predecessor Barack Obama.
After weeks of building tensions, Trump threatened airstrikes on Iran last week — calling them off just minutes before they were due to begin — and on Tuesday his national security adviser, John Bolton, continued the administration’s tough rhetoric.
Bolton referred to Iran as a “radical regime” that supports “violent provocations abroad,” ahead of a trilateral meeting with his Israeli and Russian counterparts in Jerusalem.
But he also added that Trump had “held the door open to real negotiations.”
“All that Iran needs to do is walk through that open door,” said Bolton, known for being one of the administration’s most hawkish advisers on Iran.
Bolton said later Tuesday that Trump called him prior to sending tweets threatening Iran and said the President asked him to “get the message out” that Iran, in Trump’s words, will face “great and overwhelming force” if it attacks “anything American.”
Nearly 250 migrant children who were held at a Customs and Border Protection facility in Clint, Texas, will be shifted into the Department of Health and Human Services’ shelter system by Tuesday following reports of poor conditions at the facility.
“Last week ORR identified shelter space in its network for 249 (unaccompanied children) who were located at the CBP Clint Station facility—these children should now all be in HHS care as of Tuesday, June 25th,” HHS spokesperson Evelyn Stauffer said in a statement Monday.
The announcement comes days after CNN reported on a team of lawyers, doctors and advocates warning of what they called major health and hygiene problems at multiple U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities in Texas, including the one in Clint.
“The kids had colds and were sick and said they didn’t have access to soap to wash their hands. It was an alcohol-based cleanser. Some kids who were detained for two to three weeks had only one or two opportunities to shower,” Clara Long, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, said of the Clint facility.
“One said they hadn’t showered in three weeks. Hygiene and living conditions like this creates a risk of spreading infectious disease. It makes me very concerned about the public health emergency.”
Stauffer acknowledged Monday that unaccompanied migrant children are “waiting too long in CBP facilities that are not designed to care for children,” a result, she says, of the “unprecedented” number of children arriving.
As of June 10, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been transferred from the Department of Homeland Security to HHS – a 60% increase over last year, HHS says.
The Trump administration made the legal argument last week that detained migrant children didn’t need toothbrushes, medicine and blankets in order to be held in “safe and sanitary conditions.”
Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” that “of course” those items are necessary basics for children but punted to Congress when asked about the Trump administration’s inaction.
“My point is, it’s all a part of the appropriations process,” Pence said.