March 23, 2013

Teenagers arrested in fatal shooting of toddler

The two are accused of wounding a mother and killing her 13-month-old son, who was in a stroller.

The Associated Press

BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Two teenagers were arrested Friday and accused of fatally shooting a 13-month-old baby in the face and wounding his mother during their morning stroll through a leafy, historic neighborhood.

Antonio Santiago
click image to enlarge

Antonio Santiago

De'Marquise Elkins
click image to enlarge

De'Marquise Elkins

Additional Photos Below

Sherry West had just been to the post office a few blocks from her apartment Thursday morning and was pushing her son, Antonio, in his stroller while they walked past gnarled oak trees and blooming azaleas in the coastal city of Brunswick. West said a tall, skinny teenager, accompanied by a smaller boy, asked her for money.

"He asked me for money and I said I didn't have it," she told The Associated Press Friday from her apartment, which was scattered with her son's toys and movies.

"When you have a baby, you spend all your money on babies. They're expensive. And he kept asking and I just said 'I don't have it.' And he said, 'Do you want me to kill your baby?' And I said, 'No, don't kill my baby!' "

One of the teens fired four shots, grazing West's ear and striking her in the leg, before he walked around to the stroller and shot the baby in the face.

Seventeen-year-old De'Marquis Elkins is charged as an adult with first-degree murder, along with a 14-year-old who was not identified because he is a juvenile, Police Chief Tobe Green said. It wasn't immediately clear whether the boys had attorneys.

Police announced the arrest Friday afternoon after combing school records and canvassing neighborhoods searching for the pair. The chief said the motive of the "horrendous act" was still under investigation and the weapon had not been found.

"I feel glad that justice will be served," West said. "It's not something I'm going to live with very well. I'm just glad they caught him."

West said detectives showed her mugshots of about 24 young men. She pointed to one, saying he looked like the gunman.

"After I picked him, they said they had him in custody," West said. "It looked just like him. So I think we got our man."

West said she thought the other suspect looked much younger: "That little boy did not look 14."

The slaying happened around the corner from West's apartment in the city's Old Town historic district. It's a street lined with grand Victorian homes from the late 1800s. Most have been neatly restored by their owners. Others, with faded and flaking paint, have been divided into rental units like the apartment West shared with her son. The slain boy's father, Luis Santiago, lives in a house across the street.

A neighbor dropped off a fruit basket and a pot of coffee Friday as a friend from the post office dropped by to comfort West.

Santiago came and went. At one point he scooped up an armload of his son's stuffed animals, saying he wanted to take them home with him. He talked about Antonio's first birthday on Feb. 5 and how they had tried different party hats on the boy.

"He's all right," Santiago told the boy's mother, trying to smile. "He's potty training upstairs in heaven."

West said her son was walking well on his own and eight of his teeth had come in. But she also mourned the milestones that will never come, like Antonio's first day at school.

"I'm always going to wonder what his first word would be," West said.

Beverly Anderson, whose husband owns the property where West has lived for several years, said she was stunned by the violence in what's generally known as a safe neighborhood where children walk to school and families are frequently outdoors.

Jonathan Mayes and his wife were out walking their dogs Friday, past the crime scene, and said they've never felt nervous about being out after dark.

"What is so mind-numbing about this is we don't have this kind of stuff happen here," Mayes said.

 

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Sherry West talks to reporters Friday. She was shot in the leg and her 13-month-old son, Antonio Santiago, fatally shot in the face, as she pushed him in his stroller Thursday in Brunswick, Ga.

The Associated Press

  


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