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Man arrested in killing of 1-year-old girl in Compton

A 23-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of killing 1-year-old Autumn Johnson in Compton this month, authorities said Tuesday.

A gang unit saw Ray Howard Patterson near North Bullis Road and East Rosecrans Avenue about 2 p.m. Monday and took him into custody in connection with the crime, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Patterson is being held without bail, sheriff's investigators said.

Patterson is suspected of shooting Autumn on Feb. 9 as she lay in her crib. Investigators believe that Patterson walked up to a converted garage where the little girl and her parents lived in the 300 block of North Holly Avenue and opened fire. He fled in a blue Chevrolet Impala, authorities said.

Deputies who responded to the shooting rushed Autumn to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood in their patrol car, where she was pronounced dead.

Los Angeles County, the FBI and the city of Compton have offered a combined $75,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Autumn's killer.

Sheriff's Det. Todd Anderson declined to comment on what led investigators to Patterson. Authorities are still looking for the driver of the Impala, he said.

Sheriff's Capt. Steve Katz, who oversees the homicide unit, said investigators are still trying to determine a motive for the killing and are still gathering evidence.

Patterson has multiple convictions dating from 2012, according to court records. In September 2013, he pleaded no contest to resisting an officer and was sentenced to 365 days in jail and three years of formal probation, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

In October 2014, he pleaded no contest to grand theft and was sentenced to 16 months in prison, to be served in county jail. A district attorney's office spokeswoman could not confirm whether he was given credit for time served.

Currently, Patterson is facing burglary and larceny charges stemming from a May 26, 2015, incident, according to court records.

On Saturday, funeral services were held for Autumn, described as an outgoing child who had just learned to walk.

Her mother, Blanche Wandick, who was preparing a bottle for Autumn at the time of the shooting, told mourners that she missed her baby.

“It's just so hard,” Wandick said. “I feel like my life is over. I wish it would have been me instead of her. She was my future, my firstborn.”

Patterson is due in court Wednesday, according to online records.

nicole.santacruz@latimes.com

For more crime news, follow @nicolesantacruz on Twitter.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

9:37 p.m.: This article was updated with more information on Ray Howard Patterson's criminal record.

This article was originally published at 3:02 p.m.

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