TEMPE, Ariz. — Jayceon Burton was only 5 years old when he was shot and killed in a targeted shooting in Tempe earlier this month.
Two teenage brothers and a 30-year-old man have been arrested in connection to the shooting that killed Burton and injured two other children on March 17, Tempe police said on Monday.
It was a Friday, just before midnight, when 24 bullets riddled the car Jayceon and six others, including five minors, were in.
Authorities said the victim’s black Chevy Impala was stopped at a red light on 48th Street and Broadway Road when a silver Chevy Cruze stopped next to it.
“One of the occupants inside the vehicle happened to look over at the vehicle next to them and recognized an individual in that vehicle,” said Sergeant Greg Bacon. “He told the driver to ‘go.’ Unfortunately, there was nowhere for the driver to go at the time because there was a car in front of them.”
When the light turned green, the victim’s car drove eastbound. The Chevy Cruze followed.
Police said between 48th Street and 52nd Street on Broadway Road, shots were fired from one car into the other, striking and injuring two children inside, ages 17 and eight, and killing Jayceon.
The Impala continued eastbound and when it reached 52nd Street and Broadway the car died, said Sgt. Bacon.
“The occupants inside that car, our victim's vehicle, all fled on foot for fear that additional gunfire was imminent,” he added.
The Impala had seven occupants—an 18-year-old and six minors, ages 2 to 17. They are all related through personal relationships or biologically, police said.
“As a mother, and chief of police, our top priority was to solve the crime of a homicide to a 5-year-old,” said Tempe Police Chief Josie Montenegro. “My heart was broken; from the moment I got the phone call. It’s a 5-year-old. It’s so senseless. It’s ridiculous.”
Chief Montenegro said the community’s help, which provided tips and video surveillance, helped them arrest three men they said pulled the trigger—30-year-old Demarcus Frazier and brothers 16-year-old Freddy Patterson and 17-year-old Charles Adams.
Investigators said the men were arrested on March 21, and police recovered three weapons. They each face a first-degree murder charge and six aggravated assault charges.
Preliminary ballistic testing from the guns recovered matched the firearms used in the shooting, police said.
Investigators said no one in the Impala had weapons or fired back.
It’s still unclear what the motive is and if it's gang-related. The two teenagers are being charged as adults.
Jayceon Burton is remembered as a little boy who loved basketball, the trampoline park and playing video games, according to a GoFundMe account allegedly created by his father.
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