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Waterbury police continue search for man they say shot 2-year-old

He was showing people the firearm when it went off and struck the toddler, who was in his walker, according to police.

WATERBURY, Conn. — The man suspected of shooting a toddler in a Waterbury home Tuesday remains at large, police said Wednesday.

Police were called to a local hospital around 1:35 p.m., where a 2-year-old boy was found to be shot in the torso.

"A medical evaluation was conducted and it was determined the child would be better served at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford," said Chief Fernando Spagnolo of the Waterbury Police Department. "The child was stabilized and Life Stared out."

The toddler was listed in stable condition Wednesday morning. Police say he was shot, allegedly inadvertently, inside his Pinecrest Drive home, by 20-year-old Kharis Samuels, a family friend.

RELATED: Hartford man charged in connection with double fatal shooting

"He was showing the gun to other residents there and at some point, that gun went off and that bullet struck the 2-year-old child," Spagnolo said.

Instead of calling 911, the family rushed the toddler to the hospital themselves. And police said Samuels disappeared.

"His last known address is 37 Ridgeway St. here in Waterbury, Connecticut and he has ties to New York and Florida," said Spagnolo.

But, thanks to advanced ballistics and DNA testing, Waterbury police have obtained an arrest warrant for Samuels.

"We are working with the Connecticut State Police violent crimes task force to determine the whereabouts of Samuels right now," Spagnolo added.

RELATED: Toddler hospitalized with gunshot wound: Waterbury police

Three minors, which include the two-year-old who was shot, and a 21-year-old, who are all siblings, live in that house, according to police.

"The mother is not in the picture and the father is currently incarcerated and the grandmother is in the care of the children," said Spagnolo.

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is also investigating this incident.

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Residents of Pinecrest Drive, who did not want to appear on camera, told FOX61 their neighborhood has deteriorated in recent years in large part due to activity inside that residence, which has resulted in police being called there at least three other times since August of 2020.

Around 100 guns have been taken off Waterbury streets so far this year, police said.

Leah Myers is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at lmyers@fox61.com

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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