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Baby boy shot dead in stroller, mother tells Georgia police

March 22, 2013|By Michael Muskal
  • Authorities investigate the scene of the shooting in Brunswick, Ga.
Authorities investigate the scene of the shooting in Brunswick, Ga. (Terry Dickson / Associated…)

A 13-month-old boy was shot to death in his stroller by assailants who may be children themselves, his mother told police in Brunswick, Ga.

Authorities on Friday said they are checking school records and interviewing neighbors hoping to identify the two suspects, believed to be about 10 and 15 years old. The child’s mother said the suspects approached her on a Thursday morning stroll with her son and demanded money.

Sherry West said she told them she had none and the boys opened fire, killing her son, Antonio, and wounding her in the leg.

“I put my arms over my baby and he shoves me, and then he shot my baby right in the head,” West told WAWS-TV.

Police spokesman Todd Rhodes gave few details about the investigation Friday, but said no weapon has been found. He told reporters during a televised news conference that officials were checking school records for leads.

He said that he had heard the mother’s story that her child was killed in a robbery gone awry, but that police were looking at all possibilities and had not determined a motive.

“We are aware there is some speculation being circulated throughout the rumor mill,” Rhodes said, without giving details. “However, let me assure you -- as I previously indicated -- that we are thoroughly investigating this case and we will not, I repeat, will not leave any stone unturned.”

Asked directly if West, the mother, was a suspect, the police spokesman replied: “We are not at liberty to discuss the intricacies of the investigation, as it could possibly damage it.”

No witnesses, other than the mother, have come forward, Rhodes said. Several people, however, called 911 to report shots fired.

“What we heard was that there were shots that went out in the area,” Rhodes said. “Right now, we are not ruling anyone or anything out.... There is no clear motive right now." 

“We as law enforcement, we can't go off of what anyone says," he added. "We have to thoroughly investigate this case.”

Brunswick is an ocean-side city, about 30 miles north of Florida. Rhodes said the incident took place in a residential neighborhood. “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,” he told reporters.

The boy's father, Louis Santiago, told WAWS that he wished he could have been there to protect his family.

“He was special,” Santiago said. “He had the bluest, bluest eyes.”

“This is obviously just a terrible day in the city of Brunswick,” Mayor Bryan Thompson told reporters Thursday, “and made even more terrible by the senseless killing of a young child. And it appears perpetrated by children themselves.”

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michael.muskal@latimes.com

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