Wilmington police make arrest in shooting of 6-year-old Jashown Banner. His mother is also speaking out about the bloody crime.
It was a pleasant late-spring afternoon when Shaylynn Banner Hackett hopped into her car to take her son Jashown to his father’s house across town in Wilmington. Also in the car were Hackett’s mom and 2-year-old daughter.
In an instant, the family’s world was shattered in a barrage of bullets, leaving Jashown with a bullet in his head and clinging to life.
Hackett approached a stop sign when suddenly a crossing car slammed on its brakes. From the inside of that vehicle, police now say, 41-year-old Chelsea Outlaw fired several shots.
Outlaw must have been firing Tuesday at someone walking near the intersection of Sixth and Spruce streets, Hackett said Friday.
“Gunfire started going off and we got caught up in it. It was basically a drive-by shooting,” Hackett told WHYY during a telephone interview from her son’s room at Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children, where she has kept a nonstop vigil for the last three days.
She spoke to a reporter about two hours before police announced the arrest of Outlaw, who they said has an extensive arrest record. Police did not reveal details of their investigation, or a motive for the brazen daytime shooting.
But all Hackett knows is that after the gunfire stopped – she counted nine shots – she had a cut on her arm, perhaps from shattered glass. When she checked her children in the backseat, she was horrified to see that her chatterbox son was silent, and bloody. “I knew he was hit.”
Jashown, known as “Lj”, had taken a bullet to the left side of his face. He was unconscious and unresponsive.
Hackett jumped out and called for help. She said that within a few moments, a police officer was trying to render first aid to Jashown.
Ambulances soon arrived to whisk both to the hospital – the child to DuPont Hospital and Hackett to Christiana to get her cut looked at because police first suspected she also took a bullet.
Hackett was quickly checked and released, then taken to see her son.
“He died three times and they brought him back,” she said Friday.
He has not regained consciousness, but Hackett said she remains optimistic that her son, who remains in critical condition, can emerge from his coma and lead a normal life.
“We’ve just got to wait and see. He’s a fighter,” she said. “Right now he’s just resting.”
Police said Outlaw, who lives on Morehouse Drive near Minquadale, was taken into custody Thursday by federal and local authorities assigned to a crime task force.
He was arraigned and is being held at Howard Young Correctional Institution in lieu of $2 million cash bond, facing two counts of first-degree attempted murder, second-degree assault, possession of a firearm by a person prohibited and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Outlaw faces a preliminary hearing in the Court of Common Pleas on June 19.
Known as Lj, wounded child ‘loves it all’
Before Tuesday, she said, the boy who just graduated kindergarten was playful and joyous, a lover of dogs, reading, video games and sports such as basketball and football. “He loves it all,” she said.
Meanwhile, Hackett echoed residents, politicians and civic leaders who gathered Wednesday at the scene of Wilmington’s 97th shooting this year – on pace to shatter the record of 154, set in 2013. The city of 71,000 has consistently been one of the most violent cities in America per capita in recent years, leading Newsweek magazine to dub it “Murder Town USA” in a 2014 story.
“The city of Wilmington needs to get it together and get these gangbangers or whoever off these streets,” Hackett said.
She also called for an outside force to “come down here and shut Wilmington down and get these guns off the street.”
She joined her family in thanking the greater community for their support.
“The whole state, everybody is praying,” Hackett said. “He’s a fighter.”