Brunswick, Georgia police arrested 17-year-old De'Marquise Elkins and a 14-year-old boy, whose name is being withheld due to his age, yesterday in connection with the shooting death of Sherry West's 13-month-old son.
West told authorities that while she was returning from a trip to the post office and pushing baby Antonio in his stroller Thursday morning, two young men—a tall, skinny, teenager, and one who appeared to be around 10-–approached her demanding money. West didn't have any, and she let the teenagers know, telling the Associated Press, "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!"
West reported that the teens wouldn't accept that. In an interview with FOX Affiliate WAWS-TV, she described what happened next: "He says, ‘Well, I'm gonna kill your baby.' I put my arms over my baby and he shoves me. And then he shot my baby right in the head."
Four shots were fired, one of which grazed West's ear while another was fired into her leg, before one of them walked around to the stroller and shot Antonio execution style.
According to West, she was shown 24 mugshots of young men and pointed to one who looked like the gunman, "After I picked him, they said they had him in custody. It looked just like him," somewhat bizarrely adding, "I think we got our man."
Brunswick police chief Tobe Green announced at a news conference Friday afternoon, "We're still following leads from our witnesses. We're still collecting evidence. We're currently serving search warrants at three locations in the city."
Luckily, I've never lost a child (or had one, for that matter), and while I don't think that there is any textbook answer to how one is supposed to react when something like this happens, it's hard for a Bostonian not to hear West's Law & Order-style responses, and note the fact that she is the only eyewitness here, not think of Charles Stuart. In 1989, Stuart fabricated a story about being carjacked by a black man in an Adidas track suit—essentially identifying every black man living in Boston at the time—who shot and killed his pregnant wife and shot him in the stomach following a childbirth class at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Stuart committed suicide just months later after his brother identified him as the shooter (but if you happen to mention Charles Stuart in a Boston townie bar on a Tuesday night, an old man in a Celtics cap will argue with you about whether or not Chuck voluntarily jumped into the Mystic River.)
On the other hand, based on West's story, the police apparently had Elkins in custody before she identified him, and both Elkins and the unidentified teenager have been charged with first-degree murder—implying that (one hopes) they have further evidence that the two teenagers are involved. "We are turning every stone to get a motive," Chief Green told WPTV.
[images via AP]