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Man charged with 2016 Minneapolis drive-by shooting that killed 2-year-old boy

The charges were announced on Monday afternoon.
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A man has been charged with murder over the 2016 drive-by shooting that killed 2-year-old Le'Vonte Jason Jones. 

Minneapolis PD and the Hennepin County Attorney's Office announced on Monday afternoon charges had been filed against 

Chris Welch, 34, was charged in connection with the toddler's death, having initially been arrested in 2016 over the shooting but released due to lack of evidence.

Welch and Le'Vonte's father, Melvonte Peterson, are believed to have exchanged fire from their respective vehicles, Le'Vonte, and his 15-month-old sister in Peterson's minivan at the time.

Le'Vonte was hit in the chest and died from his injuries, while his sister was hit in the leg.

According to charges against Welch, a witness told police that Peterson had stolen from Welch, and Welch had previously said he would kill Peterson.

Police spoke with several witnesses who were with or spoke with Welch about the shooting, leading to the 2nd-degree murder charges filed on Monday.

He is currently serving a prison sentence over unrelated gun charges, and isn't due for release till 2033.

The shooting

The shooting happened near Penn Avenue North and Lowry Avenue North shortly before 11:30 a.m. on July 8, 2016.

Video of the area shows Le'Vonte's father, the then 25-year-old Peterson, pulling a minivan up next to a black Chevy Impala near the intersection. Le'Vonte and his sister were in the van.

Then, the police department's Shot Spotter recorded two gun shots. Seconds later, there were nine more shots. It wasn't clear who fired first.

Video then shows the man jumping the curb and turning onto Penn Avenue, while the Chevy continued down Lowry Avenue.

Peterson drove to the hospital, arriving around 11:30 a.m. His son was later pronounced dead, the county attorney said.

Peterson was arrested in January 2017 for the murder, manslaughter and neglect of his own son, but the case was thrown out by a judge, which criticized the Hennepin County Attorney's Office for bringing the charges.

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