Two teenagers have been arrested 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 neighbourhood.
Sherry West had been to the post office close to her flat on Thursday morning and was pushing her son, Antonio, in his pushchair while they walked past gnarled oak trees and blooming azaleas in the coastal city of Brunswick, Georgia.
Ms 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 said yesterday from her flat, 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 allegedly fired four shots, grazing Ms West’s ear and hitting her in the leg, before walking around to the pushchair and shooting 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.
Police announced the arrest yesterday afternoon after combing school records and canvassing neighbourhoods searching for the pair.
The chief said the motive was still under investigation and the weapon had not been found.
The killing happened around the corner from Ms West’s flat in the city’s Old Town historic district.
The dead boy’s father, Luis Santiago, lives in a house across the street.
It is not the mother’s first loss of a child to violence – Ms West said her 18-year-old son, Shaun Glassey, was killed with a steak knife during an attack involving several other teenagers on a dark street corner in Gloucester County, New Jersey.
“He and some other boys were going to ambush a kid,” Bernie Weisenfeld, a spokesman for the county prosecutor’s office, said.
Her son was armed with a knife, but the 17-year-old target of the attack was able to get the knife away from him “and Glassey ended up on the wrong end of the knife,” Mr Weisenfeld recalled.
Prosecutors decided the 17-year-old would not be charged because they decided that he acted in self-defence.