Suspects taken into custody in shooting of 3-year-old

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – St. Louis police have arrested two suspects, Jerry Hampton, 17 and William Hampton, 18, for allegedly shooting a 3-year-old boy in the head Saturday night in what may have been a case of road rage.

The child remains in critical condition at Cardinal Glennon hospital.

The boy was shot Saturday at about 8:20 p.m. while riding in a car driven by his 23-year-old father.

Also in the car, his father`s 36-year-old friend.

According to the father, he was turning left onto East Grand Boulevard from Interstate 70 when another car almost hit his car.

The father rolled down the window and yelled something at the driver.

Then, as he turned right on Blair Avenue, police say Jerry Hampton was the person in the front seat of that other car opened fire, striking the boy in the head.

His father rushed him to the hospital, where he was admitted in critical and unstable condition.

If this was in fact a road rage shooting, it would have been the second one in North St. Louis in less than a week.

Chief Sam Dotson says it may be part of the bigger pattern of people reaching for guns for the smallest of reasons.

"The things we are seeing people use weapons for are becoming less and less;  road rage, personal disputes, but what we are seeing overall is a decrease of about ten percent in aggravated assaults with guns this year," Dotson said.

The other road rage case happened this past Tuesday, as a family headed home from dinner in North St. Louis.

They were near Kingshighway Boulevard and Lillian Avenue when a pick-up truck driver drifted into their lane.  The father honked his horn at the driver to make sure he saw them.

Moments later, that pick up pulled alongside the family`s car and opened fire.

One of those shots hit a 3-year-old girl sitting in the back seat.

The bullet grazed her leg but she`s okay.

Police say both Jerry and William Hampton have each been charged with 8 counts of assault 1st degree, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon in Saturday's shooting.  Additional charges could be brought if the child does not survive.