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Baby shot in face in New Mexico is in a coma

An infant who was shot in the face at a New Mexico motel earlier this month is in an induced coma and will likely have severe health complications including hearing and vision loss as a result of her injuries, police said Wednesday.

Gallup Police Officer Darius Johnson told The Associated Press in an interview that the 8-month-old girl was being treated at an Albuquerque hospital and appears to have lost hearing in her left ear and will likely lose her left eye.

“We don’t know much beyond that,” Johnson said.

Johnson was among the officers who responded to a chaotic scene at the Zia Motel in Gallup, New Mexico, on Dec. 8 after police received reports of gunshots.

According to a police report, officers found Shayanne Nelson, 18, holding her infant daughter bleeding from the face and in a blanket and her 3-year-old boy beside her.

A hysterical Nelson told authorities that she and her boyfriend, Tyrell Bitsilly, 21, were in the shower when her 3-year-old son found a gun and accidentally shot the infant. Nelson said she believes the gun may have been left in the room by someone who was in their hotel room earlier. No other adults were in the room at the time of the shooting.

But a witness told police he saw Bitsilly wiping the gun after the shooting

Nelson and Bitsilly face child abuse charges stemming from the shooting. Bitsilly also was charged with tampering with evidence.

In addition, Bitsilly is facing charges in another case involving a gun and Nelson’s children. Bitsilly was arrested in October after police say he fired a gun during an argument inside a car in downtown Gallup, court records show.

Lawyers for Nelson and Bitsilly convinced a judge Wednesday to postpone preliminary hearings in the criminal case so they can review new evidence that includes video interviews, a new police report, and footage from a surveillance camera.

Bitsilly’s attorney, John Bernitz, said the video interviews gave conflicting information about what happened at the hotel but he did not elaborate.

He has called the shooting a tragic accident, said that the hotel attracted people struggling with poverty and that a gun may have been left in the room.

McKinley County Magistrate Judge Robert Baca rescheduled the hearings for Jan. 9.


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(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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