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Police arrest 2 teens in Ga. baby killing

Published: Saturday, March 23, 2013 12:05 p.m. CST • Updated: Sunday, March 24, 2013 12:01 a.m. CST
Caption
(AP photo / Bobby Haven)
Sherry West breaks down in tears Friday as she describes the incident the day before where her 13-month-old son was fatally shot and she was wounded in Brunswick, Ga. West said Friday that a teenager trying to rob her at gunpoint asked, "Do you want me to kill your baby?" before he fatally shot her 13-month-old son in the head.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The mother of a baby gunned down in his stroller says she has no doubt a teenage suspect jailed in the slaying is the man who killed her 13-month-old son, but family members say he wasn't anywhere near the scene.

"That's definitely him," Sherry West said when she saw the jail mugshot of 17-year-old De'Marquise Elkins, who is charged as an adult with first-degree murder. Police also arrested a 14-year-old who has not been identified because he's a minor.

"We're trying to determine which one actually was the shooter," police spokesman Todd Rhodes said Saturday.

But West said she was certain the gunman was the older suspect. "He killed my baby, and he shot me too," she said.

West was shot in the left leg above her knee, and she says another bullet grazed her left ear. She says the gunman then shot her son, Antonio Santiago, in the face.

But Elkins' older sister said her family knows he wasn't involved in the shooting.

"My brother wasn't anywhere near that area as far as we know — not the scene or the shooting," she said Saturday. She said she didn't know whether Elkins had a lawyer.

"He couldn't have done that to a little baby," she said. "My brother has a good heart."

She said that her brother had been living in Atlanta and returned to Brunswick only a few months ago. Typically, he would come by her house in the morning and they'd go to breakfast. But Friday morning, police came to her door as her brother was approaching along the sidewalk.

"The police came pointing a Taser at him, telling him to get on the ground," she said. "He said, 'What are you getting me for? Can you tell me what I did?'"

On Thursday morning, West had just been to the post office a few blocks from her apartment and was pushing Antonio in his stroller. She said a teen, accompanied by a smaller boy, asked her for money, and she said she had none.

"When you have a baby, you spend all your money on babies," she said. "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 before he walked around to the stroller and shot the baby in the face.

Police announced the two arrests Friday 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.

West said she hopes prosecutors pursue the death penalty in the case. At her apartment Saturday, she had filled several bags with her son's clothes and diapers to donate to charity.

"My baby will never be back again," West said, sobbing. "He took an innocent life. I want his life, too."

* Associated Press Writer Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta and news researcher Monika Mathur in New York contributed to this report.

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