Police have arrested three men in connection with the tragic death of a little boy in Prince George’s County, Maryland, who was struck and killed by a stray bullet as he sat in his living room playing video games with a family member.
Prince George’s County police said that after a weeks-long search for those behind the fatal shooting of 8-year-old Peyton “PJ” John Evans, they’d charged brothers Desmond Nkwocha, 21, and Mark Nkwocha, 23, as well as George Shamman, 23, with attempted first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and weapons-related offenses. The men had allegedly opened fire in the parking lot of an apartment complex, accidentally shooting the soon-to-be third grader in his home.
“My son’s favorite number was 21. They solved the case in 21 days and this is the year 2021,” PJ Evans’ mom, Tiffani Evans, said Thursday. “I don’t know what God is trying to tell us but 21 is an angel number. My son is speaking to us.”
On Aug. 24, Evans was at the living room table playing video games with his cousin, when the suspects drove up to the apartment complex at around 8:20 p.m. in a white sedan and one of the suspects sprayed the parking lot with bullets, police said.
As bullets went flying, one pierced through the patio door of an apartment and killed PJ, who was not the intended target of the violence, police said.
Police Chief Malik Aziz would not identify which man is accused of pulling the trigger during a news conference Thursday afternoon, but said that the men were “no strangers” to the criminal justice system and officers were working on identifying a motive.
Aziz said that tips from the Landover community had helped law enforcement to identify the three suspects.
“Without the help of witnesses, the community, the family who gave us valuable information and intelligence to piece together a lot of information,” Aziz said.
According to WTOP, the chief gifted PJ’s mom with handcuffs that had been used to arrest the suspects allegedly behind the shooting.
“These suspects attempted to steal an innocent child’s future, but we know his legacy will live on, and his light can never be extinguished,” Aziz said.
Tiffani Evans said that she is hopeful the death of her son will have an impact on a community that has been rattled by gun violence in recent months.
Before PJ was killed in August, 6-year-old Nyiah Courtney was shot and killed while walking home in Southeast Washington in July. In December of last year, 15-month-old Carmelo Duncan was also killed by stray bullets while strapped into a car seat in his dad’s car.
“We got to start somewhere and this situation has opened a lot of people’s eyes so we got to start now. To every parent who has a child hug on your babies every day and tell them you love them,” Tiffany Evans said. “Every kid in this area has me forever, whatever they need.”