DETROIT – Police believe a traffic incident led to the gunfire that killed a 3-year-old boy who was inside a car on the Southfield Freeway in Detroit, Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw said.
Shaw and Detroit police Chief James Craig held a news conference Wednesday after the suspect in the case turned himself in at the Michigan State Police building in Downtown Detroit.
"There's no doubt in our mind that this afternoon, when the individual turned himself in downstairs at the lobby, it was due to the work of not only us, but the public putting this individual out there, putting his vehicle out there, and also the media attention that kind of got in there and made it so that he decided instead of having us find him, he was going to come to us," Shaw said.
The man in custody is a 24-year-old Detroit resident, Shaw said. He turned himself in after Crime Stoppers offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and police recovered his vehicle in Detroit.
The reward was offered during a Monday press conference, and the vehicle was discovered Tuesday when police served a search warrant. Shaw said these were among the many factors that led to the man coming forward.
The shooting happened around 7:05 p.m. Thursday on the Southfield Freeway between Joy and Plymouth roads in Detroit, police said.
"We've got some real knuckleheads out there driving on the freeways and the roadways of Michigan," Shaw said.
According to Shaw, there was a traffic incident between the 24-year-old, who was driving a 2014-2016 Mercedes, and the godmother of Christian Miller. The 3-year-old boy was in a car seat, officials said.
"We believe it's a traffic incident that occurred out there," Shaw said. "We don't believe it was a tit for tat between two parties. We don't think the godmother was aware of what was going on when this incident occurred."
Police said the traffic incident led to one shot being fired. That shot struck Christian between the shoulder blades, and he died at Children's Hospital.
"She didn't get involved," Shaw said of the godmother. "She did all the right stuff."
Police said the 24-year-old's family eventually convinced him to turn himself in. He will be processed and transported to the Detroit Detention Center, according to authorities.
Shaw said police can't comment on the weapon or the man's criminal history, though he did say the men "has had contact" with law enforcement officials in the past.
Police will put the full case together and send it to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, Shaw said. He said police will reveal more information when the case is in front of a judge and a jury.
Craig spoke briefly at the news conference, praising the community for coming together to help solve the case.
"This is a great example of seamless coordination," Craig said. "I really want to say thank you to the Detroit community. Certainly, this horrible situation involving this child -- Detroit has stepped up. The community stepped up. I also want to step up and thank the family who facilitated and assisted in making sure the suspect came in without incident."
You can watch the full news conference in the video below.