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Suspect identified in fatal shooting of 3-year-old boy in Compton

Paulette Gipson, President Compton NAACP, speaks to the media about the shooting of an infant last evening in Nate’s Liquor Mart parking lot in Compton. (Video by Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Homicide detectives have identified a man suspected of fatally shooting a 3-year-old boy in a Compton parking lot Saturday evening, authorities said.

Investigators did not name the suspect but said they are in contact with his family and his attorney to facilitate the man's surrender, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

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The incident, which took place about 7:45 p.m. Saturday, began when two men argued in a parking lot on the 2800 block of West Alondra Boulevard. Deputies believe the shooting was gang-related.

During the argument, one man began to enter a vehicle driven by his girlfriend when the other man opened fire, the Sheriff's Department said. The car left, but the occupants discovered the child had been wounded.

Deputies then responded to a report of a gunshot victim in the 17200 block of South Central Avenue in Carson. Media reports said the boy's mother apparently drove from Compton to Carson in search of help. Deputies took the boy to a hospital, where he died.

The boy's name was not released.

Eric Metoyer holds Kia Metoyer (L) and 12-year-old Emerie Metoyer as they attend a vigil near Nates Liquor Mart in Compton.
Eric Metoyer holds Kia Metoyer (L) and 12-year-old Emerie Metoyer as they attend a vigil near Nates Liquor Mart in Compton. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

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 organizer Najee Ali, director of Project Islamic Hope.

"This 3-year-old child's death struck a nerve with everyone," Ali said, adding that many of the mourners were parents. "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."

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the sheriff's homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500.

A makeshift memorial has been created in memory of the three-year-old child who was shot and killed Saturday night.
A makeshift memorial has been created in memory of the three-year-old child who was shot and killed Saturday night. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

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UPDATES:

7:25 p.m.: This article was updated with information from a candlelight vigil.

4:10 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect that authorities identified a suspect.

6:15 a.m.: Updated with the age of the victim and other details.

This article was first published at 1:40 a.m.

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