Eight-year-old Donald Maiden Jr. is lying in a Dallas hospital with a gunshot wound to his face.
Donald, who is black, had just celebrated his 8th birthday and was playing tag outside his apartment complex when he was shot last week by Brian Cloniger, a white 46-year-old who had been seen waving a gun earlier in the day.
This is a sad situation, another text book case for gun control legislation, and a senseless shooting that could also have racial implications.
Why did Cloniger shoot Donald Maiden? Why is this eight-year-old boy fighting to recover from a shooting simply because he was outside playing tag?
Donald was listed in critical but stable condition. He still needs a breathing tube and had a plate in his jaw. He can wink and nod, but can’t talk. He is expected to undergo more surgeries after swelling from the most-recent surgeries subsides.
Police said that Cloninger was seen standing next to his pickup truck as Donald was bleeding and a witness asked him if he shot the boy.
“Yes I shot that kid,” Cloninger reportedly said.
Cloniger is in jail for the shooting and he’s being held on $2.2 million bond. Police said there is no clear motive for Cloninger shooting the unarmed boy. The shooting is still being investigated.
But how could there be a reasonable motive? Cloniger shot an unarmed youngster for no apparent reason. There is no justifiable reason for the shooting.
And Donald’s family is understandably sad, angry and confused.
“When he ran in I just screamed,”Latamarin Locklin, Donald’s mother, told reporters. “His mouth was just hanging off and it was just a big hole… I just threw him on the couch and laid him in my arms and put pressure on his mouth with the towel.”
Locklin couldn’t understand why anyone would shoot her child “out of the blue.”
“He hit the ground when the guy shot him,” said grandmother Sharon Locklin. “Then, he got up and ran to the house and asked his mom for water, and his mom saw all the blood coming out.”
When Donald Maiden Sr. saw his son at the hospital, he was in a medically-induced coma.
“When I first saw him in ICU, I started crying,” Donald Sr. said. “I just put my head down in his bed and was holding his hand at the same time. And he opened his eyes. And when I raised back up I looked and there were tears rolling down his eyes and it gave me a little bit of spirit in my heart. It was joy, I guess he was kind of happy to know I was there.”
Local police arrested Brian Cloninger in connection with the shooting. He has been charged with injury to a child, and sits behind bars with a $2.2 million bond. There is no clear motive behind why Cloninger would have wanted to shoot the boy. The shooting is still being investigated.
“Everything’s just too much,” Locklin said. “I just want him to get better and recover. And law enforcement can deal with everything else.”
There are certainly more questions than answers and perhaps, when young Donald is able to talk again, he can tell police why he was shot while having fun outside playing a kid’s game.