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

The child is recovering at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, Waterbury Police spokesman Lt. Ryan Bessett said.

Police on Wednesday identified the shooter as Haris Samuels, 20, a Waterbury resident who they say was on the run after Tuesday’s shooting.

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


According to Lund, Samuels is accused of threatening an acquaintance with a gun because of a debt owed to him.

“He stole the victim’s camera and fled the scene,” showing a gun, Lund said. According to Lund, the Bristol police have not been able to find Samuels for over a year.

Waterbury police said Samuels was staying with the older adult brother of the boy who was shot dead at the family’s home on Pinecrest Drive. Police said Samuels was showing off the gun when he fired, hitting the child in the torso while he was in a walker.

Police said three young children, including the boy who was shot, were in the house when the gun was fired. The family was caring for the child and took him to the hospital instead of dialing 911, police said.

Samuels fled the scene and is wanted by police on charges including assault in the first degree, risk of harming a child on three counts, and reckless endangerment in the first degree. Police said he would also face gun possession charges related to the shooting.

Police said Samuels had connections to New York and Florida. He is believed to be armed – the .380 caliber firearm used in the shooting was not found – and police said the public should exercise caution in his presence.

The State Department of Children and Families is conducting a joint investigation into the shooting with Waterbury police, agency deputy commissioner Michael Williams said.

Williams said that due to the “incomplete nature of these activities,” he could not provide further comment about the investigation or whether the family had previous contact with the agency.

“Our thoughts are with this little boy and his family members and friends who were traumatized by the incident,” Williams said. “We are grateful to the first responders, medical staff and law enforcement officials who worked tirelessly to provide him with qualified assistance and to hold those responsible for his injuries accountable.”

“This firearms event affects every one of us in the community and reinforces the need to protect the most vulnerable – young children,” Williams added.

Family members, professionals and concerned citizens should call the police if they believe a child’s safety is in immediate danger, Williams said. Child abuse reports can be directed to the Child Abuse and Neglect Helpline by calling 800-842-2288. Callers can remain anonymous.

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

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