Police Track Suspects In Separate Shootings Of 3 And 4-Year-Olds That Left One Toddler Dead, Another Injured

By WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) More information is emerging about two shootings that left a 4-year-old dead and a 3-year-old injured late Wednesday and early Thursday.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said a person of interest has been identified in the fatal shooting of the 4-year-old boy on Birchwood Street on the city's west side early Thursday. Family members identified him to WXYZ-TV as Nathaniel Messiah Townsend. Cousin Deangelo Rucker, who was not at the home at the time of the shooting, told WXYZ the family was having a get-together when someone shot into the house.

"I'm so hurt. I can't even express it but it's just a wake up call. My lil cousin got killed over something that don't nobody even know," said Rucker. The family told WWJ's Charlie Langton Townsend wanted to grow up and play football. Twelve shots were fired into the house to end his young life. 

"Totally devastated," his grandmother told WWJ.

How did police track a suspect? They believe he's a man who was hospitalized for a gunshot wound. 

In the shooting of the 3-year-old -- who was hit while strapped into a carseat in his mothers car when gunfire erupted around him, police said the suspect is a man named Brandon Johnson. See a photo of him HERE. They believe he was with two others who fired shots into the car while it was parked on Nett Street.

Craig called both shootings cowardly and urged the public to call police if they get wind of the suspects, and not to confront them directly.

Anyone who knows of Johnson's whereabouts or who has information about either of these crimes is asked to call police 313-596-1140 or the Crime Stoppers tip line at 1-800-SPEAK-UP (1-800-773-2587).  As always, tipsters may stay 100 percent anonymous, will not be asked their names, to speak to police or to testify in court.