AWTON, Okla. — An 8-year-old boy is in critical condition after being shot while inside his family’s vehicle in Lawton, Oklahoma. The incident took place on Sunday, December 10, as the boy’s mother was making food deliveries for DoorDash in a Southwest Lawton neighborhood. The child’s mother, Nichole Groshong, reported that she occasionally stopped the car so her family could enjoy the nearby Christmas lights.
According to Groshong, while they were parked in front of a house, she heard what sounded like fireworks hitting the car. Realizing that someone was shooting at them, she quickly shifted the vehicle into drive and attempted to flee. It was then that she noticed her son, Zachariah Bannister, had been shot in the head.
Zack’s brother, also present in the car, alerted Groshong to his sibling’s injury. They immediately rushed the injured child to the hospital, where doctors discovered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain. The incident occurred just days after Zack’s eighth birthday.” His eyes were closed,” she told the local news outlet. “He was leaned over to the right side. I [saw] blood, and [Zack’s brother] said that Zack was bleeding and screamed, ‘Drive mom, drive.'”
Groshong expressed her disbelief and said, “My son didn’t deserve it. He is just like the sweetest little boy.” Zack is currently at a children’s hospital and is said to be making progress in his recovery. However, a long road to recovery lies ahead, and he will require physical therapy. While the bleeding has stopped, Zack easily tires and requires rest.
Law enforcement authorities have arrested a man named Jullian Phillips in connection with the shooting. The family has stated that they do not know him, leaving the motive for the shooting unclear.
The incident has shocked and concerned the community as they rallied together to support the young boy and his family during this challenging time. A GoFundMe page raised more than $41,000 and offered updates on Zack’s condition. His mom said that Zack still has a bunch of issues with his legs and his speech. She added that they would be here until after the new year.