COMPTON ( –A man has been arrested in connection with the shooting of a 4-year-old boy in Compton Wednesday.

The suspect is believed to have fired the shot that struck the boy, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials reported Thursday. His name and the circumstances of his arrest were not confirmed.

Just after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, several men began fighting outside a liquor store near Atlantic Avenue and Compton Boulevard, and shots were fired.

A woman just happened to be driving by in a pickup truck when a stray bullet pierced the window and struck her young son in the head. He was in a car seat.

“I unbuckled him from his child seat and cradled him,” Deputy Art Gonzalez told reporters Thursday at a news conference.

Responding deputies didn’t wait of an ambulance, but rushed the toddler to the hospital in a patrol car.

“I’m talking to the victim, I’m talking to the child, just telling him to hang in there,” Gonzalez said.

For several blocks, Gonzalez cradled the boy in his arms while Deputy Sergio Jimenez drove, radioing ahead so the staff at St. Francis Medical Center would be waiting. Doctors say that may have saved the child’s life.

“It was a relief to get there and pass him over to the nursing staff,” Jimenez said.

While the two deputies drove the wounded boy to the hospital, a third, Deputy Brian Reza, stayed behind at the scene with the boy’s mother and another child who was in the pickup.

“Sad, couldn’t believe that she was just driving, on her way home, when this happened,” Reza said.

The boy underwent hours of surgery. Doctors Thursday said only time will tell if he will recover.

Along with the pickup truck, two other cars were hit by stray bullets during the shooting. The investigation is ongoing.


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