The parents of 1-year-old Hiram Lawrence Jr., who was critically injured in a mass shooting in West Oakland last week, made a public plea Wednesday for hospital officials to wait longer before taking him off life support.
Outside Children's Hospital in Oakland, where the boy has been receiving treatment since the Nov. 28 shooting, the boys father, Hiram Lawrence Sr., said, "Whatever it takes for my son -- that's all I ask."
Lawrence Sr., who was accompanied by the boy's mother, Brittany Houston, fought back tears and said, "That's my baby."
Pastor Roosevelt Taylor, of the Tower of Faith Ministry in Oakland, who is the family's pastor, said doctors at Children's Hospital have told the family that there is no activity in Hiram Jr.'s brain and that he is "in paradise."
But Taylor said the family wants to get an opinion from outside doctors. He said the family has retained Oakland attorney Ivan Golde to try to stop the hospital from taking the boy off life support before the family gets a second opinion.
Reached by phone, Golde said he doesn't yet have enough medical evidence to file a lawsuit that would seek an injunction or emergency order to stop the hospital from taking Hiram Jr. off life support.
Golde said the family's pediatrician is meeting with doctors at Children's Hospital to determine if the child is brain dead. If the pediatrician disagrees with the conclusions of hospital officials, there might be enough evidence to seek an injunction, he said.
Golde said he wrote a letter to the hospital on Tuesday asking doctors to take more time. "Otherwise, the family will be outraged," he said.
Children's Hospital spokeswoman Erin Goldsmith said she can't comment on Hiram Jr.'s condition because his family hasn't authorized the hospital to release information about him.
Hiram Jr. was among seven people injured when attackers opened fire on a crowd of people outside a liquor store in the 700 block of Willow Street shortly after 6 p.m. on Nov. 28. A local rapper had just finished filming a music video there.
Police are offering a reward of up to $35,000 for information about the suspects in the case.
Hiram Lawrence Sr., who was with his son when he was shot, said today that he regrets putting his son in a dangerous situation.
"I was around the wrong people," Lawrence said.
He said, "All I can do is make things better and stay around positive people."
Police said today that a man considered "person of interest" in the shooting happened to cross paths with the family of the wounded boy at the hospital last week, causing a fight.
The man was at the hospital around 9 p.m. on Nov. 30 when he encountered the family, Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said.
A fight broke out between the family and the man, and Alameda County sheriff's deputies stationed at the hospital responded, sheriff's Sgt. J. D. Nelson said.
Deputies realized the man was wanted by Oakland police, and detained him until police arrived.
Watson said the man was arrested on charges unrelated to the shooting, and that while he is a person of interest in that case, he has not been arrested in connection with the shooting.
Bay City News