Brunswick: A Georgia mother is mourning the loss of two sons to acts of violence within the past five years. Sherry West was grieving from Thursday`s shooting death of her 13-month-old son in his stroller during an attempted robbery while they took a morning stroll. In 2008, her 18-year-old son was stabbed in an altercation in New Jersey.
A pair of teenagers was arrested yesterday in the most recent shooting. West had just been to the post office a few blocks from her apartment Thursday morning and was pushing her son, Antonio, in his stroller while they walked past gnarled oak trees and blooming azaleas in the coastal city of Brunswick.
West said a tall, skinny teenager, accompanied by a smaller boy, asked her for money.
"He asked me for money and I said I didn`t have it," she told a news agency yesterday from her apartment, which was scattered with her son`s toys and movies. "When you have a baby, you spend all your money on babies. They`re expensive. And he kept asking and I just said `I don`t have it.` And he said, `Do you want me to kill your baby?` And I said, `No, don`t kill my baby!`"
One of the teens fired four shots, grazing West`s ear and striking her in the leg, before he walked around to the stroller and shot the baby in the face.
Seventeen-year-old De`Marquis Elkins is charged as an adult with first-degree murder, along with a 14-year-old who was not identified because he is a juvenile, Police Chief Tobe Green said. It wasn`t immediately clear whether the boys had attorneys.
Police announced the arrest yesterday afternoon after combing school records and canvassing neighborhoods searching for the pair. The chief said the motive of the "horrendous act" was still under investigation and the weapon had not been found. "I feel glad that justice will be served," West said. "It`s not something I`m going to live with very well. I`m just glad they caught him."
West said detectives showed her mugshots of about 24 young men. She pointed to one, saying he looked like the gunman. "After I picked him, they said they had him in custody," West said. "It looked just like him. So I think we got our man." West said she thought the other suspect looked much younger: "That little boy did not look 14."
The slaying happened around the corner from West`s apartment in the city`s Old Town historic district. It`s a street lined with grand Victorian homes from the late 1800s. Most have been neatly restored by their owners. Others, with faded and flaking paint, have been divided into rental units like the apartment West shared with her son. The slain boy`s father, Luis Santiago, lives in a house across the street.
West said her son was walking well on his own and eight of his teeth had come in. But she also mourned the milestones that will never come, like Antonio`s first day at school. "I`m always going to wonder what his first word would be," West said.