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Friday, March 22, 2013 - 19:24
BRUNSWICK, GA — Two teenagers were arrested Friday in the shooting death of a 13-month-old boy who was in his stroller, according to police in this coastal city.
The suspects are a 17-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy, Police Chief Tobe Green told reporters Friday. Both have been charged with first-degree murder, police said.
Green identified the older suspect as De'Marquise Elkins, saying he will be treated as an adult in criminal proceedings. The 14-year-old was not identified because of his age.
"We are turning every stone to get a motive," said Green.
Police said they acted on a suspect description given by the baby's mother, Sherry West, who said she was with her son when she became the victim of a robbery attempt.
Officers checked school attendance records to determine who was not in classes Thursday, police spokesman Todd Rhodes said. No other suspects are being sought, he said.
A weapon, believed to be a handgun, has not been found, but police expressed confidence they would find it. Rhodes, who described the shooting as "horrific," told CNN's "The Situation Room" on Friday evening that search warrants were being executed in three locations.
Police were tight-lipped about the investigation and arrests.
West earlier told reporters that the incident occurred at 9 a.m. Thursday as she was walking home from the post office, pushing her son Antonio in a stroller. She said she saw two boys.
"A boy approached me and told me he wanted my money, and I told him I didn't have any money. And he said, 'Give me your money or I'm going to kill you and I'm going to shoot your baby and kill your baby,' and I said, 'I don't have any money,' and 'Don't kill my baby.'"
The boy tried to grab her purse and opened fire when she said tried to tell him she had no money, West said, with the shot grazing her head. She said the boy then shot her in the leg.
West continued, "And then, all of a sudden, he walked over and he shot my baby in the face."
West said she tried to perform CPR on her son and that the police took over when they arrived, but to no avail. "We lost him," she said.
During the incident, the smaller of the two boys was hiding behind the larger one, she said. "I don't know whether it was his brother or a friend."
West had said she hopes the boys will receive the maximum sentence possible. "If they can use a gun like an adult, then they can be charged like an adult," she said. "I want to see lethal injection or at least life in prison. This child did nothing to him. He was innocent and helpless."
Louis Santiago, father of the baby, told CNN later Friday: "I'm doing OK. I'm holding on."
Police offered a $10,000 reward for information and have received more than 30 leads. They were still following them Friday afternoon.
Though no one has reported seeing the shooting, several people called 911 after hearing it, Rhodes said.
Rhodes said crime is not common in the residential neighborhood where West said her child was shot. "It's a nice area, it's a clean area, it's an area where law-abiding citizens not only live, they also work and play.
"Much like every other city in these United States, from time to time we will have a glitch. Unfortunately, this happened here in Brunswick, Georgia."
The city's website describes Brunswick, with a population of about 15,000, as "one of the most unique, historic and visually stunning places in the world." It boasts 19th century Victorian-style homes, century-old oaks and magnolia tree-lined streets.