MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- She faces seven charges of child neglect, after city workers condemned her home. She had just regained custody of her children -- after losing them due to child abuse. Two of her children suffered gunshot wounds -- hit by bullets during a gun battle. Now, FOX6 News is speaking with the mother of 25-year-old Octavia Burton. She is now caring for many of Burton's children -- and she is defending her daughter.
City workers were led to the children's home after a shooting in which two of Burton's children suffered gunshot wounds.
They were struck by gunfire during a gun battle one week ago -- on Wednesday, July 23rd in the area of 37th and Hadley.
Police say Burton, her 30-year-old boyfriend and the seven children were inside a van when an altercation occurred between the man in the van and neighbors outside.
Two of the children were driven to the hospital by Burton after they were shot.
Burton is now in jail on seven counts of child neglect.
"Octavia loves her kids. The kids love their mother. Wherever she went to, she took her kids with her," Burton's mother, Geraldine Lucas told FOX6 News.
Burton's boyfriend has been taken into custody by Milwaukee police in connection with the shooting.
"Where's the people who shot these kids? I don't hear anything about them. I'm constantly hearing about Octavia. That's not right," Lucas said.
Burton is in jail after city workers went to the children's home to check it after the shooting.
Police say city workers discovered cockroaches and feces throughout the home.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Burton, upon entering the residence, officers noted a strong odor of dog urine and feces through the entire residence.
The criminal complaint indicates that officers observed insect infestation in every room. Additionally, officials noted that they located a mattress in a closet which was covered in well over 100 insects, including roaches.
Officials also discovered both old and fresh dog feces in a metal crate, a pantry and a stairwell.The complaint indicates the living room floor was covered with ten garbage bags, which were filled with dirty clothes and insects.
Within minutes of entering the residence, a DOC agent terminated the search due to the overpowering smell.
The house was condemned, and the children were placed with Child Protective Services.
The Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Care and Control (MADACC) also responded to the scene and picked up five "malnourished, and insect-infested dogs."
WARNING: You may find the pictures below to be disturbing.
Burton's mother is now caring for many of Burton's children -- including a 10-year-old boy shot in the back. A bullet is lodged in his leg.
"By the praise of the Lord, he's doing fine," Lucas said.
The other shooting victim is an 11-year-old girl.
Lucas says her grandchildren stayed with her often. She says her daughter was looking for a new home -- but had difficulty finding a place to move that would accept seven children.
"People have to stop judging her because they are not God. You know what I'm saying? If they want to do something -- help her. Help her and her children. She don't need to be in jail. She needs to be here with her kids, trying to find a roof over her head for her and her children instead of being locked up," Lucas said.
At the time of the shooting, Burton was on probation following a 2012 child abuse conviction. A criminal complaint says Burton beat her children with an electrical cord.
Lucas says Burton went through parenting classes and was trying to do the right thing for her children.
Lucas says social workers checked up on Burton every week.
"Can you all please help her? She needs help. Don't make her out to be a monster. She's not. She believes in God like I do -- so please help her," Lucas said.
FOX6 News has been in contact with the father of one of the little girls. He is in the military, and is currently serving in Kuwait.
He says he's very concerned about his daughter -- telling FOX6 News via email: "I have worked very hard at trying to provide a better life for my daughter."
Police are still looking for the individual(s) who shot at the van.
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