By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette — The family of a 2-year-old girl, inadvertently shot twice in the face in what appears to have been a targeted shooting, says she is improving after surgery on Wednesday.
A family spokesman, the Rev. Duane Thomas, told the Gazette the little girl is "doing fine."
"She is recovering from surgery to remove one of the bullets from her face," Thomas said. "But she will face a second surgery in another week or so."
Thomas said the child suffered "two gunshots directly to the face." The pastor said the little girl has been kept sedated but has been able to squeeze the fingers of her mom and relatives who are with her.
Falls Police said they are continuing to look for a "person of interest" in their investigation of the shooting. However, investigators said they "found" the man they believe was the target of the gunfire.
Detectives questioned Timothy Ellison late Tuesday night, but he reportedly claimed not to know who might have wanted to shoot him or why he was being shot at. Ellison had fled from police after driving the wounded child to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
The gunfire erupted in the parking lot of the Hometown Market at 17th Street and Pierce Avenue early Tuesday afternoon. The child's mother had pulled her car into the convenience store parking lot - with Ellison sitting in the front passenger seat and her daughter in the rear seat - and then went inside the market.
Police said witnesses told them that while the mother was inside between three and four gunshots were fired at the car. Shortly after, police said, the mother and the passenger in her vehicle noticed that the child appeared to have been bleeding and immediately took her to Memorial Medical Center for treatment.
The child was treated and stabilized at the Falls hospital, before being transferred to Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.
Investigators said they are still looking into the motive for the shooting.