Police: Mom leaves baby in car while video-game shopping
RICHMOND, Calif. (KTVU) - A 3-month-old baby boy, unattended in a car on a hot day while his mother buys video games, and it was all caught on cell phone video.
The video shows a baby in the back seat of a Toyota Camry.
A man who came across the baby began shooting video on his cell phone.
"She's in Gamestop while baby is in the car crying," he says.
He then panned to inside the store.
"And this is the lady, I've told her five times, her baby's in the car crying on this hot day. She don't care. She'd rather get - she'd rather get a game, she'd rather get a video game than taking care of her baby that's in a car, by itself, crying on a hot day."
The man's video that has now gone viral. It was taken about 10 a.m. Saturday outside the Gamestop store on Macdonald Avenue in Richmond. You can see that the windows of the Toyota Camry are cracked at first.
And when the woman realizes that she's being recorded, she returns to her car, rolls the windows up, and then goes back inside the store. The infant is still in the car.
"That's crazy," the man says on the video. "Who does that?"
Richmond police interviewed the 23-year-old woman at her home Monday night. Her 3-month-old son, as well as her 6-year-old son, appeared to be healthy, said Lt. Felix Tan. The woman told officers that her car and air conditioning were on and that she was only gone for a few minutes.
"No matter what, it's never smart to leave your engine running with your kids in the car," Tan said.
This case has also drawn heat on the man who shot the video.
Police say the man called 911 only after recording what happened.
"If a person was there and actually saw the kids that were in dire need of help, I would certainly hope that instead of filming, let's lend a hand," Tan said.
Janette Fennell, founder of kidsandcars.org, a child safety group, said she found many aspects of the case troubling.
"You listen to what he's saying - it sounds a little bit like he's harassing her, but it probably would have been time better spent calling 911 and getting a professional there who could intervene and decide what to do about the situation," Fennell said. "But you should never leave children alone in cars."
The man told KTVU that he did call 911 first and that any rate, he's not concerned by any criticism.
"Honestly, I really don't care because I know in my heart what I did, you know? And I'm going to get blessings from God one way or the other for doing the right thing," he said. "I wasn't one of those people that you see just walk past and turn the other way or ignore it, 'it's not my problem.' "
The case remains under investigation. Richmond police plan to forward the case to the Contra Costa County district attorney's office, which will ultimately decide whether any criminal charges would be filed.
The man who recorded the video said he was moved to act by a case just last week in Monterey County, where a thief stole a car with a 2-year-old boy inside. The boy was found unharmed hours later in the same car, hidden in a barn. But authorities said a farmer found the car only by happenstance.