A man accused of fatally shooting a 5-year-girl made a video admitting to the shooting and expressing remorse.
Mya Vimal Patel died after she was struck in her head by a stray bullet on Saturday at a Super 8 Motel. According to FOX 8 Live WVUE, the child’s mother was grazed in her arm by the same bullet. Patel was reportedly playing by a window when the shooting occurred. Joseph Smith, 33, was arrested for the shooting on Sunday by police in Texas.
Prior to his arrest, Smith made a video that has since been obtained and published by a social media group, Love Shreveport-Bossier. In the over 4-minute-long video, Smith addresses Patel, calling the fatal shooting an accident. “To the little girl that got hit by the bullet, I promise you on my soul that was not my intentions, and I am so, so sorry,” Smith says in the video.
Smith says his gun “went off” while he was confronting a man who allegedly stole a gun from Smith’s girlfriend. Smith says he fired and then fled the scene, unaware Patel was injured.
“When I found out, I fell on the floor, crying,” he says. “Because I have kids. … I know she barely just started living her life.”
He says he wants to ask for Patel’s forgiveness and give her a hug, adding that he “contemplated suicide” over the incident.
At the time the video was made, Smith was allegedly on the run and Patel had not yet succumbed to her injuries. Patel reportedly died on Monday, two days after the shooting.
“The only reason I’m running is because I don’t have enough money to fight a case,” he says in the video.
Smith is currently awaiting extradition to Shreveport, Louisiana, where the shooting happened.
Patel’s family started a fundraiser for Tiny Smiling Faces, a non-profit that helps disadvantaged children, in Patel’s honor. The fundraiser has since raised over $33,000.