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PD: No Evidence 8-Year-Old Shot In Face Was Hate Crime

Donald Maiden, Jr recovers from a gunshot wound at an area hospital. (credit: Maiden family)

DALLAS (KRLD) - An eight-year-old boy who was shot in the face outside of his Northeast Dallas apartment complex last month is due to get out of the hospital this week, and police are hoping he can tell them what happened in the moments before the shooting.

Donald Maiden Jr. was playing when police say 46-year-old Brian Cloninger shot him with a shotgun.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown says it's still not clear why it happened, and has been difficult to nail down a motive.

"People in the apartment complex heard a shot but they didn't see anything happen .  The only witness is this child victim and up until recently his mouth had been wired shut.  He had been unable to talk with us."

donald maiden
8-year-old Donald Maiden was shot in the face while playing outside his apartment complex. (courtesy: Donald Maiden's family)

Community leaders suggest the shooting could have been a hate crime, as Maiden is African-American and the accused shooter is white.  However, Chief Brown says the investigation does not suggest that.

"We don't have any evidence to support any semblance of a hate crime.  Until we are able to do a full conversation, interview with this child we won't know any of the real details only this child will know," said Brown.  "We're going as slowly as we need to until this child is able to be comfortable talking with us because of the delicate nature of what happened to him being eight years old."

Larry Friedman spoke to Chief Brown and the Dallas City Council today on behalf of the family and the eight-year-old child saying, "D.J.'s life will never be the same.  He says he looks like a monster and he doesn't want the other kids to see his face."

Cloninger has been charged with injury to a child.

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