A 23-year-old man is facing murder charges in connection with a shooting that left an 11-month-old baby girl dead and two other children injured in Syracuse, New York, according to the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA).
Syracuse Police arrested Chavez Ocasio, 23, on Monday, according to OCDA. Ocasio was charged with second degree murder, second degree criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence. He pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Tuesday.
Ocasio is facing life in prison and is being held at the Onondaga County Justice Center, according to OCDA. He’s expected in court on Friday.
The children were shot while in the back of a vehicle around 6:51 p.m. on Sunday, Investigative Bureau Chief Derek McGork said during a press conference Monday.
McGork said two women were driving when shots were fired from a passing car. The women drove away and stopped when they realized the children had been shot, he explained.
“They drove away as they were being shot at. After she realized the children were injured, she stopped and called 911,” he said.
CNN affiliate WSTM identified the victim as Dior after speaking with the girl’s mother, Desiree Seymore.
“She was just a baby,” Seymore told the affiliate. “She was so strong. She didn’t even cry when it happened, but we lost her.”
Seymore said Dior would have turned 1 on April 29, WSTM reported.
The grieving mother said her baby was loving, playful, and full of life, according to WSTM.
The two children injured were identified as 3-year-old and 8-years-old girls and are in stable condition, according to Syracuse Police Chief Kenton T. Buckner.
“These were babies in the back of this car,” Buckner said. Police did not say if the two women were injured.
Buckner said he did not have information on whether the attack was targeted.
Ocasio was arrested in 2015 on burglary in the second degree, a Class C felony in New York. Ocasio was released on parole in September 2019, according to the New York State Inmate Lookup website.