Man who shot self, wounded 9-year-old neighbor, arrested

- Authorities have arrested the man who shot himself in the foot with a hunting rifle before the bullet passed through the floor, injuring a 9-year-old boy in San Jose early Wednesday morning, police said.

40-year-old San Jose resident Eric Smith will be arrested on suspicion of negligent discharge of a firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm and being a felon in possession of ammunition, police Sgt. Enrique Garcia said.

Around 5:45 a.m., officers responded to a report of someone shot in the 1900 block of Almaden Road, Garcia said.

Arriving officers found the upstairs neighbor, later identified as Smith, and the child, according to Garcia. The bullet struck Smith in the foot before passing through the floor, striking the boy in his leg as he slept.

Smith and the boy were both taken to a hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds that are considered serious but not life-threatening, Garcia said.

Smith allegedly used a 30.06 rifle, according to Garcia.

People who live at the Almaden Apartments were in disbelief. Martin Camberos lives next door to the suspect and victim's apartments.

“I just remember people screaming a lot,” said Camberos. “I heard the mother crying because she was taking her kid to the hospital because he was bleeding a lot."

Susanna Cisneros is a friend of the boy's mother.

“It’s devastating because she babysits my daughter and I just can't believe this is happening,” said Cisneros. 

“My sister is very upset,” said Eric Smith’s sister-in-law. “She's crying and she's wondering how the boy is and we are all praying for him, asking God to heal him.”

“It was really sweet, never talks, he's really calm,” said Antonio Ramirez who is a neighbor.

Several neighbors described the nine year old as a quiet kid. They also say they had no idea Eric Smith owned a gun, but said there have been past problems and arguments inside the apartment.

“It’s really terrible. Because of somebody else, the little boy paid the price,” said Camberos.

The boy is a third grader at Ernesto Galarza Elementary School. A school district spokesman said the principal went to visit the boy and a counselor is on hand to talk to students, parents and staff.

Both Smith and the boy remained at the hospital as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Garcia.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call police Detective Emilio Perez at (408) 277-4161.

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