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Teen charged in killing of 22-month-old

Gang-related shooting was targeting rival gang member, officials say

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Police have charged 16-year-old Henry Hayes with murder, two counts of attempted murder and other charges in the Jan. 29 killing of 22-month-old boy shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Jacksonville.

In announcing the arrest Thursday, Sheriff Mike Williams said this was a gang-related shooting and it was solved with the help of over a dozen

Police said Hayes' intended target was his 19-year-old cousin, Reginald Williams, over an ongoing dispute between two street gangs. The target was in the front yard of the Spearing Street home when the bullets from a passing car hit the toddler, who was in a car in front of the house with his mother and grandmother.

A vehicle used in the crime and one gun were recovered. Investigators were able to get an arrest warrant based on witness identification and forensic evidence.

“We got a lot of information from the community in a variety of ways. We would ask the community for their continued support in this," Williams said. 

Hayes was already in juvenile custody on another charge. He has now been transported to the Duval County jail and charged with first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, discharge of a firearm in public from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of any person, shooting into an occupied vehicle, possession of a weapon by a delinquent. He was being held without bail. 

State Attorney Angela Corey also attended the announcement of Hayes' arrest. The teenager will be prosecuted as an adult.

“None of the people firing these guns are good enough shots to be able to control where those bullets go, and that's why we have a dead 22-month-old, and that's why this community needs to understand that firing guns in the vicinity of or in the direction of human beings will not be tolerated in the 4th Judicial Circuit," Corey said.

Williams also confirmed the Feb. 4 arrest of D'Angelo Williams on an accessory to murder charge related to the case that News4Jax and other media outlets had reported. Williams said there were at least two shooters, and more arrests are anticipated.

“It does ramp the emotion up when it’s a 22-month-old, a baby, a child who's shot in his driveway of his house," Sheriff Williams said. "It stirs the emotion, but we have to control that and we have to be professional and we have to dig in to these cases and make sure we do a good job of investigating and not letting the emotions take over.”

Williams said there was rap-video taunts and other tension building between the two gangs, which News4Jax have not named. He also said the additional overtime money approved by City County last week helping the Sheriff's Office combat the gangs.

Please check back for more details on this developing story.