Late Tuesday night, a four-year-old boy was shot in the chest during a botched robbery attempt outside a halfway house in the Bronx. Bobby Baltazar and son Cincer were returning from having ice cream when three robbers confronted them at gunpoint in an apparent attempt to steal Balthazar's coat. The robbers' gun went off during a struggle with Baltazar, hitting Cincer; as the attackers fled, Baltazar picked up the gun and shot one of the teens in the head. But police say Baltazar won't be charged in that shooting: “The father was forthcoming. The reason he did what he did was because of his son, who was shot. He’s a victim now,” an official told the NY Times.
The shooting took place outside a halfway house at Grand Avenue and Evelyn Place around 10:30 p.m Tuesday. Cincer's mother came out and held her child after she heard the shot: “She was laying down, crying, telling her baby: ‘Open the eyes, open the eyes. Please respond to Mommy,’ ” said witness Martha Mena. Cincer is listed in critical but stable condition at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. “He’s doing okay. He’s responding more. The only thing we can do now is wait,” the boy's aunt Lydia Gonzalez told the Daily News.
The teen Baltazar shot in the back of the neck, 17-year-old Jose Marte, is listed in stable condition, with charges pending. One of the other would-be robbers, 17-year-old Mauricio Acosta, was captured and charged with attempted robbery, assault and criminal possession of a weapon. The third attacker hasn't been apprehended yet. According to the Post, Acosta told police the incident was sparked by his missing red coat, which had been stolen a few months ago—and Baltazar's red leather jacket looked just like it.
Baltazar, who got out of jail two months ago on a drug sale rap, initially hid the gun at his mother’s home, but later went to the hospital, where he told detectives where it was and what had happened. A spokesman for Bronx district attorney Robert T. Johnson said: “This guy Baltazar was the victim of an attempted robbery, and evidence showed that he may have been justified in firing the shot. That’s why he has not been charged.”