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Suspect surrenders in shooting death of 3-year-old boy in Compton

Suspect surrenders in shooting death of 3-year-old boy in Compton
A makeshift memorial has been created in memory of a 3-year-old child who was shot and killed Saturday night. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Authorities have arrested a 29-year-old man suspected in the fatal shooting of a 3-year-old boy in a Compton parking lot over the weekend.

Dwayne Christopher Ward turned himself in to Los Angeles County Sheriff's homicide detectives Monday afternoon, a surrender facilitated by his family and attorney, according to the Sheriff's Department.

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Ward, who was booked on suspicion of a parole violation, is being held without bail.

Authorities said the shooting occurred Saturday night after a gang-related argument between two men in a parking lot in the 2800 block of West Alondra Boulevard.

Surveillance footage obtained by KTLA shows an exchange of gunfire between the two men, but Sheriff's Lt. Joe Mendoza could not confirm who shot first. He said detectives were reviewing the footage to determine what happened.

During the confrontation, one man got into a waiting car and Ward opened fire, the Sheriff's Department said in a news release. The man's girlfriend and her 3-year-old son were inside the vehicle.

The girlfriend, who was behind the wheel, drove off. Soon after, she and the man discovered the boy was wounded.

Media reports said the woman apparently drove from Compton to Carson searching for help. Deputies responded to a report of a gunshot victim in the 17200 block of South Central Avenue in Carson. They took the boy to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators will present the case to prosecutors, who will determine if and what charges will be filed in the shooting.

Dozens of mourners, including the boy's cousins and the alleged shooter's father, gathered at the crime scene Sunday evening for a candlelight vigil, said Najee Ali, director of Project Islamic Hope, who organized the event. A makeshift memorial of candles and a teddy bear was left at the scene.

"This 3-year-old child's death struck a nerve with everyone," Ali said. "The reality is that this child could've been anyone's child, who was simply in the car at the store and lost his life."

Twitter: @AleneTchek

UPDATES:

6:05 p.m.: This article was updated to include surveillance footage that shows an exchange of gunfire between the two men.

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This article was originally published at 3:45 p.m.

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