A seven-year-old boy has been left with a hole in his skull after a neighbour randomly hurled rocks at him near the youngster’s California home.
The unprovoked and senseless attack happened as Gavin Ludwick, aged seven, walked home from a pool party at a friend’s house just four doors away in Desert Hot Springs, California.
Daniel Poulsen, 32, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after CCTV appeared to show him launching rocks at the seven-year-old.
Doctors have been ordered to assess whether Poulsen, who has been found unfit to stand trial 11 times in the past, can be prosecuted for the savage attack.
According to the Sun, Poulsen stood on his porch after the attack, watching the child lying lifeless on the ground for 20 minutes.
Gavin’s mother, Wendy Ludwick, was unaware of how her son had been injured until the shocking CCTV, which she hasn’t ‘been able to bring myself to watch’, revealed Poulsen’s callous actions. She thought her boy had been hit by a car.
‘I couldn’t believe someone would do this to such a sweet little boy, he [Poulsen] doesn’t even know Gavin, they have never had any interaction,’ she told the Sun Online.
‘He is lucky to be alive. He could have easily killed him.’
Rather than getting a lift home on his neighbor’s golf buggy, Gavin walked home by himself, and was found lying face down on the ground by local resident Alturo Delgardo after the attack.
Delgardo picked the seven-year-old up and rushed to the family home, and Kaylee, Gavin’s sister, opened the door.
Wendy said the youngster was flitting in and out of consciousness and the swelling on his skull was getting bigger by the minute.
The boy began to throw up and paramedics told Wendy he was in an ‘active seizure’ and moved quickly to take him to Desert Regional Medical Centre before he was airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Centre. Gavin was sedated and placed in intensive care.
Scans and x-rays showed the skull was shattered beyond repair and that doctors would be unable to save the bones, and that they would need to remove the fragments and replace them with a metal plate.
Doctors are unaware as to whether there will be any lasting damage and Gavin will need months of intense rehabilitation.
Wendy told the Sun that the youngster is making ‘babbling sounds’ but is unable to talk. He can now sit up by himself.
‘It’s very upsetting, sometimes I just fall apart when they are doing procedures on him and I have to walk away,’ she said.
‘I sat with him and told him, ‘momma is not going to leave you, momma is here’.’
‘He wakes up I think to tell us that he’s in pain and he’s mad because he’ll kick his feet and he’ll slap the bed with his hand, his right hand, because he still can’t move his left hand,’ she added.
She added she hopes her boy forgets what happened at Poulsen’s hands.
In March this year, Wendy was widowed when her husband Charles died of lung cancer.
A GoFundMe page has raised over $60,000 for Gavin’s medical treatment.
The paramedics who attended to Gavin said: ‘I was the flight nurse that flew Gavin to Loma Linda with my partner, Jerry And our pilot, Rob.
‘I just want you and his family to know that the flight crew are keeping our little guy in our thoughts and prayers […]
‘We are so sorry that the family and friends are all having to cope with such a senseless act.
‘Gavin is in our thoughts and hearts and it was a privilege to help take care of him.’
Judge Alfonso Fernandez has order a doctor to evaluate whether Poulsen is mentally fit to be prosecuted on attempted murder and other charges.