More Arrests in Baby Death; Weapon Found
By Nick Valencia
BRUNSWICK, Georgia (CNN) — The mother and the aunt of one of the two teenage boys accused of fatally shooting a 13-month-old baby in Brunswick, Georgia, have been arrested, according to documents in the case.
Seventeen-year-old murder suspect De’Marquise Elkins’ mother, Karimah Aisha Elkins, 36, and his aunt, Katrina Latrelle Elkins, 33, are accused of “false statements or writings,” among other charges, the complaint said.
Authorities held both women in the Glynn County Detention Center until they were released on $1,104 bond.
Katrina Elkins also was held for an unrelated probation violation.
Also Tuesday, police investigating the case found a weapon and are trying to determine if it is connected to the shooting, a Brunswick police spokesman said.
Last Thursday, Sherry West told reporters she was pushing her baby in a stroller in broad daylight when two teenagers approached her. One demanded money and pointed at her what West first thought was a fake gun. But he fired at her, missing her head and hitting her in the leg, West said, and then the teen shot her baby in the face.
Both of the suspects were charged with murder last week, and made their first appearance in court Monday.
Wearing an orange jumpsuit, his hands and feet shackled, the 15-year-old listened as Glynn County Judge Timothy Barton read him his Miranda rights. The younger suspect is not being identified because of his age.
Previously, the boy’s age was reported as 14.
Authorities have not yet said whether the teen will be considered a juvenile or adult, and the teen did not enter a plea.
Asked if he had any questions, the teen told the judge, “no sir.”
The 15-year-old’s mother, Brenda Moses, said her son was “just a witness,” and that “he didn’t do anything wrong.”
“My feelings go out to the mother, and the baby and my baby,” Moses said. “They’ve handled this investigation wrong, and the truth is going to come out.”
Elkins also did not enter a plea when he appeared in court Monday.
He was dressed in regular clothes, but his hands and feet were handcuffed and he wore a belt shackle.
Elkins’ attorney, Jonathan Lockwood, spoke for him during the appearance.
When he arrived in the courtroom, the teen turned to his mother, Karimah Elkins, and nodded.
At the end of the appearance, she said, “I love you, Marquise.”
“I’ll never hear his first word’
West said she was her way home Thursday from the post office last week when she was confronted by the teens.
“I thought he was just using a toy gun to scare me. And then he shot at my head, and the bullet grazed my ear and the side of my head, and then he shot me in the leg, and I still thought that it was a fake gun,” she told CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live.”
“He kept asking me (for money), and I kept telling him I don’t have any,” she said. “He shot my baby in the face, and then I knew it was a real gun.”
West, 42, said she started screaming. She took her son out of his harness and started CPR. She saw his lungs inflate but couldn’t get a pulse, she said.
Police and medical personnel took over when they arrived, West said, but it was too late. Her son died.
“I’ll never hear his first word,” West said.
West has said she has no doubt that authorities have her baby’s killer in custody: “It’s definitely him.”
“I just hope, you know, that the shooter dies. I mean, I had to watch my baby die and I want him to die. A life for a life,” she said.
Immediately after the shooting, detectives searched her home for a gun and conducted gun residue tests on both her and the baby’s father, West said, adding that the tests were negative and the search did not turn up a gun.
Citing the ongoing investigation, police spokesman Todd Rhodes declined to comment when asked about the search and those tests.
West also said she gave a detective a jacket she was wearing at the time of the shooting. She told police she was grabbed or shoved briefly by the suspected shooter, and they hope to lift a fingerprint off the jacket, she said.
This isn’t the first time West has lost a son to violence.
Her 18-year-old son was stabbed to death in 2008 in New Jersey, she said.
“This is the second child that people have taken from me in a tragic way,” West said. “I’m so afraid to have any more babies now. I tried to raise really good kids in a wicked world.”
911 calls reveal witnesses’ horror
Police in the coastal city of Brunswick released to CNN three recordings of 911 calls about Thursday’s shooting.
“A baby has been shot!” one woman said in a 911 call.
The exchange with the emergency operator was emotionally charged.
“Listen to me, ma’am! Is the baby breathing?” the operator replied.
“I don’t know,” the woman said.
She began to cry.
“Listen to me!” the operator said to the weeping woman. “We have people en route. Did you hear shots in the area?”
Yes, she heard shots, she said.
“Be calm,” the operator said. “How many shots did you hear?”
“I heard like three shots. And the baby has been shot in the head,” the woman said.
The woman was so distraught that she passed her cell phone to a man walking his dog.
“No, the baby is not breathing,” the man told the operator.
“The baby was shot in the head?” the operator continued.
“Yes, right between the eyes,” the man said, adding that he earlier heard a “small-caliber clap.”
As he spoke, sirens wailed as police arrived on the scene, and the man broke off the phone call.