This combination of Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 books of photos by the provision of the McKinley County Adult Detention Center shows Shayanne Nelson, left, and Tyrell Bitsilly, right. Nelson’s 8-month-old girl is fighting for her life after police say her 3-year-old brother accidentally shot her in the face Saturday in Gallup, N. M., motel room while Nelson and her friend Bitsilly were in a shower. Nelson and Bitsilly face child abuse charges. (McKinley County Adult Detention Center via AP)
GALLUP, N. M. – The screaming of a teenager attracted the attention of Casey Franchot while eating at a Taco Bell. “My baby’s shot! My baby’s shot!” Shayanne Nelson screamed while a child in a blood-soaked blanket.
The 43-year-old former U.S. Army medic dropped his food and dashed to the other side of the busy historic Route 66 highway, Gallup, New Mexico to a motel to investigate. He found what the police described as a chaotic scene in which a distraught mother, a baby with a gunshot wound to the face, a confused 3-year-old boy and a boyfriend, trying to wipe away evidence.
The scene also, a family member says, was the latest in a series of tragic episodes linked to a controlling boyfriend, and a poor, Navajo teen mother who has not yet fully recovered from the death of her fiancé.
Gallup police say detectives are still trying to connect with the moments that lead up to a like a bullet from a .32 calibre revolver struck the face of an 8-month-old girl near her left ear and her left eye. The bullet, one officer said, left the child deaf in one ear and leaves her blind in one eye.
According to the police, the agents arrived at the Dec. 8 scene to find Franchot working to stop the baby choking on her own blood. A 3-year-old boy was in the front seat, wearing only a diaper, in spite of freezing temperatures outside. A hectic Nelson kept punching her car and crying.
But who fired the gun remains a mystery. Nelson, 18, told the police minutes after the shooting that she and her boyfriend, Tyrell Bitsilly, were in a shower on the Zia Motel when they heard a shot. She walked out to discover her daughter on the bed and bleeding from the face, she told the police.
Nelson said that she believed that her 3-year-old found a gun left by a previous occupant and accidentally shot his baby sister.
But Franchot said he has worked for save the baby’s life in the motel room, he saw Bitsilly, 21, wipe the gun with a towel. “I was also prepared to grab the baby and the role in the room for cover in case he started shooting,” Franchot said.
Franchot then jumped in a police vehicle to rush the baby to Gallup Indian Medical Center. On the road, the officer warned Franchot each time when they are in a bump, Franchot said.
Gallup police officer Darius Johnson told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that the 8-month-old girl was treated at an Albuquerque hospital and is in a coma.
At the scene, Nelson and Bitsilly was arrested and accused of child abuse. The police also charged Bitsilly with tampering with evidence.
However, the court records show a December shooting was not the first time that the police linked Bitsilly to a shooting rampage in which Nelson and her two children.
In October, Gallup police arrested Bitsilly after authorities say he fired a weapon in a car with Nelson, her mother and two young children. Bitsilly was indicted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse, shooting from a motor vehicle and tampering with evidence, court records said.
“Shayanne tried to break up with him,” Shanna Nelson, 39, the sister of Shayanne, said in an interview. “He was angry and shot at the (car) shelf.”
After the October shooting, Shayanne promised to have a restraining order against Bitsilly, her sister said.
The couple had been dating off and on since Shayanne fiancé — and the father of her two children — was killed in a car accident last year, Shanna Nelson said. He was often emotional, and physical abuse, she said. But the emotionally exhausted, Nelson, who is regularly with no place to stay, back to Bitsilly for comfort and was scared, according to her sister.
During a court hearing Wednesday, Shayanne was walking in the court and waved to her sister and her niece. When McKinley County Magistrate Judge Robert Baca announced he loved her bond of $20,000, she threw her head back. “They don’t need $2,000 to get out,” her sister said. “None of us do.”
The 18-year-old stood motionless as lawyers agreed to postpone the preliminary hearing until Jan. 9 thanks to the new video evidence. If the police accompanied Shayanne Nelson, her tears sister yelled, “We love you, Shayanne!”
The young mother not to look back.
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