8-year-old White boy shot in the head by Black suspect during Christmas light display

Lawton, Oklahoma – An 8-year-old White boy, who was viewing Christmas lights while riding in a car with his family, was shot in the head last week. For the crime, Police arrested a Black man who confessed to opening fire with a laser-equipped AK-47 before fleeing inside his home.

According to reports, 8-year-old Zachariah “Zach” Bannister was brutally shot in the head after a series of gunshots struck the vehicle he occupied alongside his mother, grandmother, and siblings. The shooter, who police believe to be Jullian Phillips, shot at the family with an AK-47 assault rifle equipped with a green laser sight as the car reversed on the street to look at some nearby Christmas lights.

Alleged shooter Jullian Philips (Left) and 8-year-old White victim Zach Bannister (Right). Collage: Justice Report.

”The boys had been looking at Christmas lights and everything,” said Penny Bannister, an eyewitness to her grandson’s attempted murder, in an interview with KSWO. “My daughter-in-law put the car in reverse to let Zachariah and Waylon look at Christmas lights. She started backing up, and to my right, I saw a green laser.”

”His eyes were closed…He was leaned over to the right side. I [saw] blood, and Waylon said that Zack was bleeding and screamed, along with myself, ‘drive mom, drive,’” she continued.

Phillips—who is Black—later confessed to the shooting, telling police investigators that he mistook the vehicle as belonging to a gang of people who had insulted his girlfriend earlier in the day. When he saw the vehicle reverse, he admitted to firing two rounds, striking Zach and shattering the car’s rear window before dropping the rifle and fleeing inside his home. While Phillips appears to have confessed to only shooting two rounds, conflicting reports indicate he may have discharged anywhere from 15 to 30 rounds toward the vehicle.

“My 8 year old was shot in the head because we were looking at Christmas lights and now he is in ICU.”

Nichole Groshong, GoFundMe

Bannister was rushed to the Oklahoma University Children’s Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition. According to his mother, Nichole Groshong, her son had just celebrated his 8th birthday a few days prior. Fighting for his life, he now suffers from a fractured skull and bleeding of the brain, but has stabilized over the past few days.

“All I can think about was I need to get my baby help,” she said. “(Doctors) said that the bleeding has stopped. He can move his arms pretty well, but he gets he gets tired easily.”

8-year-old Zach Bannister was shot in the head by a Black suspect armed with an AK-47 assault rifle. Miraculously, he survived the attack but still struggles with speech, movement, and lethargy as he begins a long road to recovery. Photo: GoFundMe

“He still has a blood clot, we are not out of the woods on that just yet. They are keeping him on blood thinners to make sure the clot does not get worse, and to hopefully maybe get rid of it. They said they don’t want to go in surgically right now, they don’t want to cause more trauma to his head. So we are hoping and praying the blood thinners will still work,” she continued in a GoFundMe set up to assist the family with medical bills during these times.

“He is still have a bunch of issues with his legs, and other things like speech, but that is why we are at this other hospital. We will be here until after New Years, but it’s okay as long as he gets everything he needs.”

My name is Nichole and I am trying to raise money for my son Zachariah (Zack).. Zack and his brother Waylon, their grandmother, and I were in a neighborhood last night looking at Christmas lights. I was backing up to a house to show my kids the Christmas decorations, when someone started shooting at my car. I drove away as fast as I could. My kids said they were okay, but Waylon then informed me that Zack was bleeding and he didn’t know from where so I drove as fast as I could to the hospital while my oldest kept his little brother awake all the way to the hospital and they said that was the best thing he could have done. My 8 year old was shot in the head because we were looking at Christmas lights and now he is in ICU he is doing so well I am so proud of my boys. Any help would be appreciated so I don’t have to worry about work or bills so I can be with my son. Thank you all 

Nichole Groshong, Zach’s Mother, GoFundMe

For allegedly shooting an elementary schooler just days before Christmas, the 5’9″, 163-pound Phillips is now facing charges of shooting with intent to kill. If convicted, Phillips is facing a minimum of two years in prison, up to life behind bars. He currently remains in custody at the Comanche County Jail, held on a $500,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court sometime in late January.

The town of Lawton, Oklahoma, has earned itself a reputation for being a considerably violent place, exacerbated by a declining White population in favor of Blacks, Hispanics, and other non-Whites. According to estimates maintained by the US Census Report, Lawton City is currently sitting at 54.1% White, flanked by a growing 19.4% Hispanic and 15.0% mixed-race population.

The chance of becoming a victim of violent or property crime in Lawton is 1 in 60, and according to FBI crime data, Lawton has a crime rate that is higher than 54% of the state’s cities and towns of all sizes.

According to relatives, Zach had just celebrated his 8th birthday just a few days prior to the attack. According to reports, he was targeted alongside his brother, mother, and grandmother by a Black suspect who mistook the vehicle for someone else. Photo: GoFundMe.

A crime report conducted in 2021 determined that Lawton was one of the most dangerous metropolitan areas in the state of Oklahoma, and peaked as one of the 50 most dangerous in the United States. In 2020, there were a total of 759 violent crimes reported, or 603 for every 100,000 people. Homicide is nearly twice as common in Lawton as it is on average nationwide, with 12.7 murders for every 100,000 people.

The shooting of Zach Bennington follows a long line of horrific attacks aimed at White children and carried out by Black or non-White suspects. In April, 6-year-old Kinsley White was shot for her race in North Carolina by a Black suspect who later fled the state.

Her father, Jamie White—who heroically intervened to save his daughter’s life—would later break his silence and admit the shooter was motivated by anti-White hatred. In November, 14-year-old Madden Gouveia was believed to be shot and killed in Vermont by a Black suspect who, shockingly, was later released on curfew by authorites.

Internationally, White children are targeted in the same brutal fashion, although the consequences of such attacks sometimes appear drastically different than what occurs in the United States. In November, a group of 5 White people—including women and children—were targeted in a mass stabbing attack outside of a grade school in the Irish capital of Dublin.

The suspect would later be identified as an Algerian national who had lived in the country for some time. His attack would famously spark a series of riots by Irish Nationalists, seeking to air their frustrations against a system that appears complicit in unchecked immigration from 3rd world countries.

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