ATLANTA - In less than 24 hours, Atlanta police have made an arrest in connection to a shooting in northwest Atlanta Monday that claimed the life of a 6-month-old boy, officials announced Tuesday.
The suspect has been identified as 22-year-old Dequasie Little. Atlanta police said they are confident that they have the shooter and that they will track down anyone else involved.
Who is Dequasie Little?
What is known right now about the 22-year-old suspect accused by police of a shooting that claimed the life of a 6-month-old boy comes from public records.
Little has recently been released from the Houston County jail after his probation on misdemeanor charges battery and child cruelty was revoked back in November.
Little was also on probation on aggravated assault charges in Fulton County from 2019. Court records show he pleaded guilty to those charges under a first offense status, receiving five years of probation.
22-year-old Dequasie Little (Houston County Sheriff's Office)
A petition was filed in October asking the court to revoke his probation, but no changes were made, records indicate.
Little is also out on bond for a misdemeanor charge in Clayton County, according to jail records, after being charged with two counts of giving false information.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens came out swinging on Tuesday as police announced an arrest in the shooting death of a 6-month-old northwest Atlanta boy.
"They worked 24 hours non-stop until they resolved this issue and now a suspect is under arrest," Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said.
While investigators were able to quickly identify and arrest one suspect, more arrests are possible.
"I want this to be a message just not to him but to everyone that was involved yesterday that we are very early in the investigation and anyone who thinks they will commit violence in our city we are coming with you with everything we got," said Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant.
The Fulton County District Attorney echoed city officials in her response.
"From yesterday, when this happened, until now, until this case is done in a court of law, we are working together hand-in-hand to make sure incidents like this don't occur, and when they do occur people are brought to justice," said DA Fani Willis.
Chief Bryant said the public played a big role in helping police catch Little. He said it will take that same commitment from the community as a whole, working with law enforcement to end the senseless violence
"I'm mad as hell that the incident occurred in the first place and the community can have a hand in this. We've seen too many instances where people don't know how to resolve a conflict," the chief said.
The shooting was reported around 3 p.m. at a Food Mart on Anderson Avenue NW near the intersection with Tiger Flowers Drive. According to Atlanta police, there was an altercation between two adults that resulted in gunfire.
During the gunfight, a stray bullet hit 6-month-old Grayson Matthew Fleming-Gray as he rode with his family passing the Food Mart.
Medics rushed the baby to Grady Memorial Hospital he was pronounced dead from his injuries.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant publicly vowed to find the person who pulled the trigger and ended the baby boy's life.
"These children are bearing the burden and the pain of adults who are choosing to use guns to settle disputes," Dickens said at the scene of the crime on Monday. "The children are bearing this burden with their lives."
Mother recalls shooting
The mother of the 6-month-old boy killed by a stray bullet on Monday said his death was senseless.
"He has a beautiful smile. He had a beautiful heart. He was very smart. He was very funny," said mother Kerri Gray. "And honestly, that’s about all I can tell you because that’s about as much as I got to learn from him before he was taken from me."
She said it all happened so fast when she was trying to pull into the parking lot of a nearby market.
"I know I heard a noise, I pulled off to the side, I saw two cars speed past me and when I pulled in, that’s when I had seen the gun barrel and next thing I know I get out to check on my son, and he was slumped forward," Gray said.
She said there was little indication something had happened until she saw her son.
"It hit the trunk, so there was no shattered glass, there was no crying, it was instant," she recalled. "So, we didn’t feel anything, hear anything."
She has a message for those involved or anyone who would involve themselves in similar gun violence.
"Make better life choices, please," she said. "Because the rest of us cannot live in a world where you get to be that selfish."
Helping the family
Police officers in the Zone 1 precinct were moved to action on Monday following the deadly shooting. While investigators worked to find those responsible, other officers worked to set up an online account to help the family.
Anyone who would like to donate can do so by going to their GoFundMe page.
Grayson Matthew Fleming-Gray
Officers also reached out to area funeral homes and churches to try to cover expenses.
Police said another way to help the family is to call Crime Stoppers with any tips about the case.
Vehicle of Interest
Tuesday, police shared surveillance video of a light-colored Jeep SUV driving off in the background that is a vehicle of interest.
In the video, it appears someone is pointing a weapon out of the front passenger window.
Police are asking anyone with information about the case to call the Crime Stoppers Atlanta tip line at 404-577-TIPS (8477). A reward of up to $5,000 is available for anyone with information that leads to an arrest and indictment in the case.
Third child shot in January
This is the third child under the age of 6 shot in Atlanta in January alone. Two of them have now died.
The first victim was a 1-year-old girl who was shot by another child with an unsecured gun inside a home on the 800 block of Harwell Road. The young girl's mother has been charged with second-degree murder.
The second shooting happened on Jan. 19 when a 5-year-old was hit by a stray bullet after two drivers started shooting at each other on Campbellton Road. Two suspects have been taken into custody in that investigation.