Two year old girl dies in a drive-by shooting

Police arrested two suspects Friday in the killing of a 2-year-old toddler and wounding of her mother during a drive-by shooting at a public housing development.

Memphis police responded to a call of a shooting at Cleaborn Homes apartments in downtown Memphis shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday. Residents said they heard as many as 20 shots fired as several cars sped through the development.

The names of the victims and suspects have not been released as the investigation is still ongoing, said Sgt. Vince Higgins, spokesman for the Memphis Police Department.

The mother, age 19, was listed in stable condition at the Regional Medical Center, Higgins said.

Eleanor Bonds, a resident of Cleaborn Homes, said she saw the girl get shot in the head and her mother was struck in the chest. "We were out here walking when they started shooting," Bonds said. "It was heartbreaking to see that baby hit."

Higgins said that more suspects could be arrested after more than two dozen witnesses to the shooting are interviewed.

All three vehicles that were involved in the shooting have been found, Higgins said.

"It's going to take time to determine who fired the shots," he said.

A police department news release said that the shooting stemmed from an earlier altercation in the area that resulted in several individuals shooting from their vehicles at a lone male at the apartment complex. The victims are believed to be innocent bystanders with no involvement in the earlier altercation, the release said.

"This is awful," Bonds said, wiping away tears.

Higgins said the case could end up being similar to the 2002 shooting of an 11-year-old boy in a Memphis park in which six individuals were charged with murder. The boy, an innocent bystander, was hiding behind a tree when the men ran through the park shooting at another man.

"We ended up charging all of them, because we couldn't determine who fired the fatal shot," Higgins said. "We hope this won't be the same situation."

The boy was one of four children killed in a month in Memphis in unrelated drive-by shootings.

Higgins said that when a victim is as young as the toddler killed Thursday, the community likely will help the police by providing information.

"We've had great support from the community, not just in this case, but others recently," Higgins said. "People don't want this stuff happening in their neighborhoods. It's reprehensible."