A 17-year-old suspect has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a Carrollton boy.
CARROLLTON, Ga. -- A 17-year-old suspect has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a Carrollton boy.
Malik Davis had been charged with murder in the death of Nizzear Rodriguez, who was shot hours after celebrating his 13th birthday. Police said the suspect's mother convinced him to turn himself in to police.
Davis also faces burglary and firearm possession charges. Police believe a second suspect was present during the crime, but have not released that person's name.
Late Monday night, authorities said a second person of interest walked into police headquarters accompanied by about 20 people. Police questioned that person, but he was released without being charged.
Friends, family and members of the community are coming together to remember 13-year-old Nizzear Rodriguez, who was fatally shot in his bedroom.Friends, family and members of the community are coming together to remember 13-year-old Nizzear Rodriguez, who was fatally shot in his bedroom.
The shooting took place Sunday afternoon in a unit at the Bristol Lakes Apartments on Chancery Lane.
Originally, authorities believed Rodriguez was killed in a drive-by shooting. However, that theory changed Sunday night, as police now believe Davis went into Rodriguez's bedroom and shot him in the head while he was in bed, according to Capt. Chris Dobbs of the Carrollton Police Department.
Police are looking into the possibility Davis intended to shoot someone else; he'd had past encounters with other residents of the apartment complex. Police have not yet determined if Davis and Rodriguez knew each other.
Dobbs said police never had dealings with Rodriguez, who he described as a top-notch student, or the boy's family. Investigators have had dealings with Davis, but never for anything as serious as murder.
The victim was a student at Carrollton Junior High School.
"Nizzear was a wonderful student, well liked and always smiling," principal Dr. Todd Simpson said in a statement. "This is a difficult day for this school and the entire system. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nizzear's family during this difficult time."
Carrollton City Schools spokesperson Jay Goodman said grief counselors will be available Monday at the system's four schools and nearby Tanner Hospital.
Carrollton City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kent Edwards called it "a somber day."
"There is no preparation adequate for the loss of a child under such circumstances," Edwards said. "We will continue to work with authorities as they work through the investigation."
Carrollton Police confirmed they served a search warrant at the townhouse next to Rodriguez's home Sunday and made several arrests for assaults and possible gang activity.
Both Rodriguez's family and other neighbors said the neighborhood has been in a recent decline due to gangs. Kanisha Osorio, the victim's aunt, said before her nephew was shot, the boy's grandmother had been making plans to move the family because the apartment complex was dangerous.
Some residents told 11Alive's Devin Fehely that they would like to see the community gated as well as an increased police presence.