Oklahoma 8-year-old shot in head while looking at Christmas lights, mom says

LAWTON, Okla. (KFOR) — An 8-year-old boy in Oklahoma was critically injured after someone shot at his family’s vehicle, according to the child’s mother.

Zachariah Bannister was in a car with his mom, Nichole Groshong, while she was making food deliveries for DoorDash in a Southwest Lawton neighborhood on Sunday, Dec. 10.

The boy’s brother and grandmother were also in the vehicle. Groshong said she would occasionally stop so the family could look at Christmas lights in the area.

The mom said she put her car in reverse while viewing holiday decorations in front of a house, and gunfire erupted moments later.

“It sounded like somebody was throwing fireworks at the car,” she said. “Their grandma was like, ‘They’re shooting at us, go, go, go.’ So I threw it in drive, and I started getting out of there.”

Zack was shot in the head while sitting in the backseat with his brother.

“[His brother] was like, Zack’s bleeding,” said Groshong. “Then, his little head started falling over toward his shoulders. His brother said, ‘Zack, you can’t go to sleep. You can’t go to sleep.’”

Groshong rushed to get her injured son to safety, driving him all the way to the hospital. She said the 8-year-old’s skull was fractured, and he had bleeding on the brain.

She also said that Zack had just celebrated his eighth birthday just days before the shooting.

“My son, he didn’t deserve it,” Groshong said. “He is just like the sweetest little boy.”

Zack is recovering at a children’s hospital, where his mother said he is making progress. She said he has a long road to recovery and will need physical therapy.

“They said that the bleeding has stopped,” Groshong said. “He can move his arms pretty well, but he gets he gets tired easily.”

Police have since arrested Jullian Phillips in connection with the shooting, a man police said the family doesn’t know.

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