Adrian Lamontea Theus still wakes up every morning laughing with a smile on his chubby face.
At just 3 months old, he doesn’t know that surgeons at Children’s Mercy Hospital performed a six-hour emergency operation Saturday to amputate his tiny right hand.
Hours earlier, about midnight, someone blasted gunshots into his mother’s vehicle as she drove near 51st Street and Walrond Avenue. Amber Whitelow, 24, said she was driving home when she took the wrong exit and tried to get back onto Bruce R. Watkins Drive.
Bullets blew out a rear passenger-side window and ripped through the passenger-side rear quarter panel.
“I looked back and checked my son and I pulled my hand back bloody,” Whitelow said Tuesday.
Whitelow screamed to a 19-year-old passenger to grab Adrian, who was in the middle of the back seat. Whitelow sped to the hospital for help.
Police haven’t arrested anyone but continue to investigate.
“I think it is ridiculous the way people solve their problems,” said Whitelow, who is married and has five other children ages 7 to 1. “They’re a danger to society if they just opened fire on vehicles that they don’t know who is in the vehicle.”
The incident Saturday was another in a recent series of shootings that placed children in peril. On Thursday, 2-year-old Shaquille Kornegay died after being shot in the head at a home in the 2600 block of Lawn Avenue.
Jackson County prosecutors charged her 24-year-old father, Courtenay S. Block, with child endangerment, tampering with evidence and armed criminal action.
Police spokesman Capt. Tye Grant called Saturday’s shooting disturbing.
“You can’t get any more innocent than a 3-month-old victim,” Grant said.
Whitelow said she had worked an extra shift Friday at the Wal-Mart store in Raytown to complete an assignment changing prices.
Since she hadn’t planned on being there very long, Whitelow took Adrian with her. Co-workers loved holding and playing with Adrian, she said.
Whitelow said she was fraught with worry during Adrian’s surgery.
“I don’t know where my head was,” she said. “The incident (shooting) just kept reoccurring over and over in my head.”
Adrian was released from the hospital on Sunday.
He rests comfortably but when pain medication wears off, he becomes grouchy and cranky, Whitelow said.
Doctors told Whitelow that Adrian will adjust to growing up with only one hand.
“It will become the norm for him,” she said.
Whitelow said she believes the shooting was random.
“I go to work and I come home. I don’t go out,” she said. “I don’t go to parties and I don’t hang out.”