Toddler Loses Eye in "Senseless" Shooting: Family

19-year-old arrested in shooting

By Chris Glorioso and Andrew Siff
|  Thursday, Sep 15, 2011  |  Updated 10:22 AM EDT
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A 1-year-old girl sitting in a stroller was shot in the face by a gunman who police believe may have been trying to target one of her uncles, and her family said Wednesday she has lost an eye. Chris Glorioso reports.

A 1-year-old girl sitting in a stroller was shot in the face by a gunman who police believe may have been trying to target one of her uncles, and her family said Wednesday she has lost an eye. Chris Glorioso reports.

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A 1-year-old girl sitting in a stroller was shot in the face by a gunman who police believe may have been trying to target one of her uncles, and her family said Wednesday she has lost an eye.

A young man police believed to be responsible for pulling the trigger was in custody at a local precinct early Thursday, authorities told NBC New York.

Damark King, 19, of Staten Island, was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal use of a firearm and reckless endangerment in connection with the shooting. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Police said the toddler, Samyah Bailey, was in her stroller in a courtyard outside Staten Island's Arlington Apartments Public Housing complex when a gunman -- possibly targeting one of the girl's uncles -- misfired. The slug hit Samyah's face.

At the heartbreaking scene, her father could be seen shouting at police, "can I go to my baby, can I get to my baby, please?"

The shooting unfolded around lunchtime Wednesday. A short time later, police arrested four men, including the alleged shooter, on nearby West Shore Expressway.

The wounded child, who turns 2 in December, was taken to Richmond University Medical Center by her grandmother, Patricia Mahoney. She still had her grandchild's blood on her shirt when she spoke to NBC New York.

"It's a senseless shooting," she said. "An innocent baby got shot being outside playing on a nice day."

Surgeons were operating on Samyah's brain late into the night. Her family said one of her eyes is lost.

"That's my baby," gasped Samyah's mother, Stephanie Mahoney, as she waited for word from the operating room in shock.

Ann Fisher, who lives in Arlington Apartments with her son Gary, 3, said the sound of gunshots there is all too common.

"They need to shut this place down," she said of the housing project at 55 Holland Ave.

Neighbor Stan Kemp said he would offer the little girl candy and she'd always smile.

"It just melts your heart," he said. "Now you don't know which way her condition will go."

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