By BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — A stolen SUV police described as a “vehicle of interest” in a car-to-car shooting this month that left a 15-month-old boy dead in Washington, D.C., has been recovered and detectives are scouring it for clues in the search for the killer, authorities said.
The Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department announced on Saturday that they have recovered the gray 2011 BMW X5 SUV with a temporary Virginia tag number that was seen fleeing the shooting that left Carmelo Duncan dead. The discovery of the car is the latest development in the slaying that has outraged residents of the nation’s capital and was condemned by Mayor Muriel Bowser as a “level of senselessness (that) is impossible to process.”
“We believe it is connected to the case & need your help,” police said on Twitter, where they posted photos of the BMW and pleaded for people to come forward if they recognize the vehicle or have information on who was using it on the night the toddler was fatally shot.
Police said the vehicle was stolen on Dec. 1, a day before the child’s death.
The SUV, according to police, was found abandoned about a block from where the shooting occurred.
Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said forensic evidence indicates that more than one gun was used in the shooting.
The toddler, according to police, was shot multiple times around 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 when a vehicle pulled up alongside his family’s car and gunfire erupted on a busy stretch of Southern Avenue Southeast in the city’s Capitol Heights neighborhood, near the Prince George’s County, Maryland, border.
The boy was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Newsham said a second child was also in the car but was not injured.
A $60,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter is being offered by the police department, the Washington Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the FBI Washington Field Office.
”There are simply no words for the sense of outrage that we should all feel at the loss of this beautiful baby boy, Carmelo,” Bowser said at a news conference a day after the shooting.
“We talk a lot about gun violence each and every day, and the havoc and pain that guns are causing in our city,” Bowser added. ”Now, we have lost a 15-month-old precious boy, and we need to spend more time talking about the victims. The level of senselessness is impossible to process. And we need everybody’s help to bring justice to this baby Carmelo and his family, and to get a very dangerous person off the streets.”
Newsham said Carmelo is the youngest victim of gun violence in D.C. this year. He said detectives suspect the vehicle the child was in, which was being driven by his father, was targeted.
Hundreds of city residents and community activists incensed by the killing held a vigil and march on Dec. 5 near a makeshift memorial for Carmelo. The crowd yelled the child’s name in unison as they marched and called for justice.
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