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3-month-old infant shot in head in Lakewood apartment, suspect facing charges

Another 18-month-old was inside the apartment at the time of the shooting. Police said 23 rounds were fired inside by the suspect.

LAKEWOOD, Wash. — The suspect accused of shooting inside a Lakewood apartment and injuring an infant on Friday evening has been identified. 

According to Lakewood police, the call came in at around 5:40 p.m. at the 8900 block of Gravelly Lake Drive. Officers described the scene as chaotic. 

Investigators believe Earnest Hamilton, 40, fired multiple rounds into an apartment from the hallway inside the building. Two units were hit in the shooting, but police think one was the intended target. 

A 3-month-old infant was grazed with a stray bullet and taken to Mary Bridge Hospital. The infant was in his swing at the time of the shooting, according to court documents. One of the bullets is still in the child's head, his parents told police. The infant remains in the hospital. 

Police said 23 rifle rounds were fired into the apartment, including five directly into the front door and 17 in the hallway. Another 18-month-old was also in the apartment while the shooting happened, court documents detailed. 

Investigators said Hamilton is a neighbor of the victim.

No one else was hurt in the shooting. Multiple agencies were called in to assist because it was initially unclear if the suspect was still there.

Surveillance video from the apartment complex did not show the shooting, but captured what happened before and after the shots were fired. Hamilton was caught on camera pacing around the parking lot and "acting strangely," according to police. The suspect was seen leaving the apartment complex 10 minutes after the shooting. 

While officers were investigating the school, police said Hamilton's girlfriend called 911 to report he punched her and threatened to kill her. The incident happened at another apartment complex in Pierce County. The same evening Hamilton called 911 to report a man pulled a gun on him.

Hamilton told dispatchers that he “wanted to do a crime so he could go to jail,” according to probable cause documents. Prosecutors said he told dispatchers that “’they’ are throwing stuff at his window, and that he needs to go hurt the neighbors.”

Hamilton was detained by police but has denied any involvement in the shooting that injured the infant. 

According to police, there are no other suspects involved in the shooting and there is no threat to the public.

Hamilton was charged Monday with three counts of first-degree assault, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, and fourth-degree assault

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