The mother of a 13-month-old boy shot dead in his stroller said she thought the gun being pointed at her was fake.
Sherry West of Brunswick, Ga. recounted the horrifying chain of events that took place Thursday morning when she was pushing Antonio Santiago in his stroller after running an errand. That’s when she said a teenager and a younger boy approached her and demanded money.
“I thought the gun was fake. I didn’t think the gun was real,” West told CNN in an interview punctuated by sobs. “A boy approached me and told me he wanted my money and I told him I didn’t have any money and he said ‘give me your money or I’m gonna kill you and I’m going to shoot your baby.'”
West was shot in the ear, the bullet just grazing her skin, and in the leg above her knee.
“I thought it was a BB gun. It was a small gun, and then all of a sudden he walked over and he shot my baby right in the face,” West said. “He must have died instantly because I screamed for help and a neighbor to call the police, and he ran off — he got scared that I screamed.”
West said she quickly wheeled the stroller away and took the baby out of his harness.
“I tried to perform CPR, I saw his lungs inflating but he was not breathing and there was no pulse,” she said. “By the time the EMTs got there the police, they tried to do CPR also, and we — we lost him.”
De’Marquise Elkins, 17, was arrested and charged as an adult with first-degree murder. Police also arrested a 14-year-old, who has not been identified because he is a minor.
Elkins’ older sister said her brother was not in the area on Thursday and could not have been involved in the shooting.
“My brother wasn’t anywhere near that area as far as we know – not the scene or the shooting,” she told the Associated Press Saturday.
“He couldn’t have done that to a little baby,” she added. “My brother has a good heart.”
West was shown Elkins’ jail mug shot and said she’s sure he’s the one who pulled the trigger.
“That’s definitely him,” she said. “He killed my baby, and he shot me, too.”