DETROIT – Detroit police have captured a 31-year-old suspect wanted in connection with the shooting of a 2-year-old girl Wednesday on the city's east side.
Detroit Police Assistant Chief Steve Dolunt said his officers, and officers from Oak Park, arrested Cleveland Smelley Thursday at a motel near Hubbell and 8 Mile roads. He was a former parolee and considered armed and dangerous.
The girl, identified by family members as McKenzie Oldham, was in a vehicle with her father in the 14000 block of Fairmont Street when a fight broke out, police said. Sources told Local 4 the fight started after someone spilled a drink.
Shots were fired, and McKenzie was struck.
“This one hurt a lot,” Dolunt said. “When an innocent child gets shot over stupid stuff, I believe this was over a spilled Kool-aid or something, it’s just senseless.”
Another person who has not been identified by police is in custody.
“It used to be winner went to jail, loser went to the hospital. But now, people don’t understand what conflict resolution is and they pull out a gun to show how bad they are. Now I’ve got a 2-year-old clinging to life, I’ve got some clown in custody who thought he was doing the right thing, and I’ve got a neighborhood up in arms.”
Too many children are victims
The 2-year-old's shooting happened the same day Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy held a press conference calling for adults to lock up their guns.
Worthy said gun violence involving children has become not only a crime issue, but a public health issue.
Worthy announced charges for the grandparents of a 5-year-old Detroit girl who died in May after shooting herself in the neck with a gun she found at their home with involuntary manslaughter, child abuse and other gun charges Wednesday.
Mariah Davis was being watched by her grandparents in their home on Oakfield Avenue when she found a gun under a pillow.
Charges were also announced Wednesday against the great-grandfather and mother of a 4-year-old who shot himself on Terry Street in November.
Worthy said Wayne County has had 8 children either killed or hurt by guns that they were handling in the last 17 months.
But far too often, Detroit children are victim to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In February, a 5-year-old girl was shot following a road rage incident while driving with her parents.
A driver opened fire on the family's vehicle in the 16000 block of Mark Twain Street. Maurbrya Cheatham was shot in the head. She made a full recovery.
On Easter Sunday, A'naiya Montgomery was shot multiple times while sleeping with her mother in a home on Riverview Street. She died on the way to the hospital.
In April, 6-month-old Miracle Murray was shot and killed on Winthrop Street. Her mother believes the shooting was in retaliation for the Easter Sunday shooting.
“I’m tired of kids getting shot,” Dolunt said. “Whether its carelessness with the weapons or blatant stupidity. We can only do so much. We can’t police stupid.”