The child, identified only as Terrell, was in critical but stable condition after being struck by a bullet at his Brooklyn apartment during what appeared to be an argument between his babysitter and a male visitor.
Neighbors told the New York Daily News Terrell had a brush with death previously when he was bitten by a dog. The injuries were serious enough that he was required to use a colostomy bag.
"[His mother] had a pit bull and the dog attacked the baby," neighbor Jay Nichols said. "He was just recovering from that ... . He shouldn't have to live in these kinds of conditions."
It was not clear who fired the shot or whether it came from inside or outside the apartment in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. The New York Post said the 22-year-old man who was arguing with the sitter had been taken in for questioning by police.
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