Four charged in death of 2-year-old child

4 persons of interest in custody after toddler shot, killed in Avondale
Published: Aug. 7, 2017 at 10:15 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2017 at 12:12 PM CDT
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(Source: WBRC)
(Source: WBRC)

AVONDALE, AL - Four men have been arrested and charged with capital murder following a shooting on Saturday night.

18-year-old Tyrone Smith, 21-year-old D'Marco Harris, 20-year-old Mykahl Harris, and 21-year-old Joshua Carpenter are all being held without bond.

"It's absolutely unconscionable that a two-year-old child can lose his life due to the reckless and careless actions of adults," Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper's said in reaction to the weekend shooting death of two-year-old Ron-Narius "Duke" Austin.

Austin was killed when someone sprayed bullets into the SUV he and his parents were riding in.

"We believe an individual from each vehicle fired a weapon. We recovered a firearm from both vehicles," said Roper.

"If you are going to be in and dictate that kind of behavior, then there ought to be a truce or something that if I have a baby in my car, maybe we won't take this beef up right now, maybe will do it next week or somewhere else where you don't have children innocently killed," said Councilman Steven Hoyt.

Monday afternoon, four persons of interest were in custody as police sought warrants.

Mayor William Bell is calling on his police chief and officers to continue to patrol and implement programs to reduce crime.

"But I also realize we can't have an officer on every corner," Bell says. "The issues that face us are too many guns on the street and too many conflicts that should end with discussion."

The shooting happened not too far from the commercial district of Avondale, an area that has seen great economic growth in the last few years.

Those who frequent the area, like Tristen Klavenga, says news of Austin's death shocks them.

"It's not fair to the parents. It's not fair to the grandparents, and it's not fair to other children," said Hoyt.

"It's really sad to see something like this happen," says Klavenga. "Hopefully it brings people together trying to love each other more than they use hatred."

"How do we save lives? How do we resolve conflicts? I don't know if we've done that. We've had the prayer vigils and little town halls and what have you, [but] have we really tried to deal with this violence on a level that abates it rather than promotes it?" asked Hoyt.

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