A 2-year-old Maryland boy was killed and his mother wounded Thursday in the crossfire of a shooting in Langley Park.
Jeremy Poou-Caceres was found inside his stroller with gunshot wounds when a local detective arrived at the scene after hearing shooting, the Prince George’s County Police Department said in a statement.
According to the department, the detective attempted to perform lifesaving measures on the toddler until medical authorities arrived, but the boy was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a hospital.
The toddler’s mother was found with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound, police said.
Speaking at a press conference Friday, the police department’s assistant chief announced the arrests of two suspects in the shooting, 33-year-old Israel Fuentas Jr. and 28-year-old Johnny Alejandro Turcios.
The assistant chief, Vernon Hale III, described the successful arrests as a “50-50 partnership” between the police and the community, after receiving a number of calls from witnesses with information on the two suspects. Hale told reporters that there had been recent gang activity in the Langley Park area, but that the toddler’s death would be the first homicide there in 90 days.
One witness told police that the two suspects had been engaged in an argument with others over drug distribution territory before the gunfire began, according to The Washington Post.
A neighbor told the outlet that she took in Jeremy and his mother for a few months last year, and was heartbroken to learn of the toddler’s death.
“Jeremy, to me, was a very sweet child,” the neighbor told the Post. “They were like family. He was like one of my children, living with me in the apartment.”
According to charging documents cited by local CBS affiliate WUSA9, witnesses provided officers with video and photo evidence of the shooting, which assisted in the suspects’ capture.
Investigators located a Ford Explorer linked to the shooting that was abandoned less than 1 mile from the scene, the outlet said.
Police reportedly said that they received a call from one of the suspects, Fuentas, a couple of hours after the shooting to report that four armed people had robbed him of his phone, and connected them to the Ford Explorer.
Investigators then traced Fuentas’ phone to an apartment in Hyattsville, where they found Turcios, who matched the appearance of a person seen in video provided by witnesses, according to WUSA9. Data from the phone allegedly revealed that Fuentas was also at the scene of the shooting, and both men were taken into police custody for questioning.
According to WUSA9, Fuentas told officers that he was in a conflict with another group of men.
“I do feel terrible about what happened to that child,” Fuentas allegedly told police.
According to Hale, the two suspects have been charged with first- and second-degree murder in Jeremy’s death. It’s unclear whether Fuentas and Turcios have retained legal counsel.
Hale told reporters at the news conference that police are still attempting to identify at least two additional people linked to the shooting.
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