Police: Boy, 2, shot in Waterbury home recovering as hunt for suspect continues

Kharis Samuels, 20, of Waterbury, in an undated photo. Waterbury police said they are seeking to apprehend Samuels, after he allegedly shot a 2-year-old boy while showing off a gun at a home on Pinecrest Drive on Tuesday, June 21.

Kharis Samuels, 20, of Waterbury, in an undated photo. Waterbury police said they are seeking to apprehend Samuels, after he allegedly shot a 2-year-old boy while showing off a gun at a home on Pinecrest Drive on Tuesday, June 21.

Waterbury Police Department /Contributed

WATERBURY — Police said a 2-year-old boy remained in stable condition Thursday after being shot at his home this week.

The child is recovering at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, according to Waterbury Police spokesperson Lt. Ryan Bessette.

Police on Wednesday identified the shooter as Waterbury resident Kharis Samuels, 20, who they said has been on the run since the Tuesday shooting.

Bristol police have been looking for Samuels since April 2021 to serve an arrest warrant on robbery and first-degree threatening charges in connection with an incident that occurred on Dec. 18, 2020, Bristol Lt. Geoffrey Lund said.

Samuels is accused of threatening an acquaintance with a gun over a debt he was owed, Lund said.

“He stole the victim’s cell and fled the scene” after displaying a gun, Lund said. Bristol police have been unable to find Samuels for over a year, Lund said.

Waterbury police said Samuels was visiting with the older adult sibling of the boy who was shot at the family’s home on Pinecrest Drive. Samuels was showing off the gun when it went off, striking the child in the torso while in his walker, police said.

Police said three young children, including the boy who was shot, were inside the home when the gun went off. The family tended to the child and drove him to the hospital, rather than dialing 911, police said.

Samuels fled the scene and is being sought by police on charges that include first-degree assault, and three counts risk of injury to a child, and first-degree reckless endangerment. Police said he will also face weapons charges related to the shooting.

Police said Samuels has ties to New York and Florida. He is believed to be armed — the .380 caliber firearm in the shooting was not recovered — and police said the public should use caution around him.

The state Department of Children and Families is conducting a joint investigation into the shooting with Waterbury police, the agency’s Deputy Commissioner Michael Williams said.

Due to the “pending nature of these activities,” Williams said he was unable to provide further comment on the investigation or if the family had previous contact with the agency.

“Our thoughts are with this little boy as well as his family members and friends traumatized by the incident,” Williams said. “We are grateful for the first responders, medical personnel and law enforcement officers who have worked tirelessly to provide him expert care and hold those responsible for his injuries accountable.”

“This event involving a gun affects each one of us in the community and reinforces the need to protect those most vulnerable — young children,” Williams added.

Family members, professionals and concerned citizens should call the police if they believe the safety of a child is in immediate jeopardy, Williams said. Allegations of child maltreatment can be made to the Child Abuse and Neglect Careline by calling 800-842-2288. Callers can remain anonymous.

Anyone with information about Samuels’ whereabouts can contact Waterbury detectives at 203-574-6941. Anonymous tips may also be left at 203-755-1234.