LEWISVILLE — A man is accused of fatally stabbing and beating his 16-month-old son before a neighbor at his Lewisville apartment complex attempted to stop the attack by shooting him in the leg, police said Sunday.
Witnesses reported that a man was stabbing or beating a child about 12:40 p.m. in a courtyard at the Oak Forest Apartments on South State Highway 121 Business near Bellaire Boulevard.
A neighbor heard screaming, grabbed a gun and fired three shots, striking the father once in the leg and “effectively ending the assault on the child,” police Captain Jesse Hunter said.
During the attack, the father was yelling “Jesus is coming,” a witness told police.
The toddler had severe injuries, including stab wounds, and was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
The incident was “probably the worst in my 20 years … doing this,” Hunter said.
The attack happened while the toddler’s mother, who was interviewed by police Sunday night, was at work.
The father, a man who police have not identified but said was in his late 20s or early 30s, was placed under arrest and taken to a hospital, where he was to be treated for the gunshot wound.
He was expected to be booked into the Lewisville city jail Monday afternoon, but it was not immediately clear what charges he may face. Toxicology results are pending.
The neighbor who stopped the attack has not been identified. He will not face criminal charges, police said.
Detectives were executing a search warrant at the apartment Sunday evening.
There were no prior calls for service at the apartment, and no reports had been made with Child Protective Services regarding the family, police said.
Mary Phillips lives a building over from the family’s and was walking her dog nearby when she heard gunshots.
“Some of my neighbors told me to get down,” Phillips said. She did not know the family but said she’d sometimes see them outside playing cards or other games.
After 10 years at the complex, the 77-year-old said it now feels less safe than when she moved in.
“My lease is up in March,” she said. “If I live that long, I’ll move.”
Ciera Mills, 26, arrived home after working a 13-hour hospital shift Sunday to learn her neighbor had been involved in the deadly attack.
She said that while on her balcony she would sometimes see the man on his, and they would occasionally greet one another.
“He was pretty normal,” Mills said. “For this to happen is unbelievable.”