There's not enough evidence to charge man in toddler's drive-by shooting death


The man who was arrested in connection to the drive-by shooting in Minneapolis that killed a toddler is being released from jail.

The 31-year-old Circle Pines man was arrested Thursday, accused of firing the shots that killed 2-year-old Le'Vonte King Jason Jones and injured his 15-month-old sister.

But the Hennepin County Attorney's Office said in a news release Monday it has "deferred charges" because at this time there is "insufficient evidence" to bring charges against him. The man will be released from jail Monday.

"Minneapolis police expended a great deal of effort and resources in investigating this tragic shooting death," the news release says.

Police will continue to investigate the toddler's death, and if more evidence comes in the county attorney's office will look at possible charges.

The shooting

The shooting happened near Penn Avenue North and Lowry Avenue North shortly before 11:30 a.m. on July 8, the Minneapolis Police Department said.

Video of the area shows Le'Vonte's father, 25-year-old Melvonte Peterson, pulling a minivan up next to a black Chevy Impala near the intersection, the county attorney's office said. 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, the county attorney noted.

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.

According to charges against Peterson, investigators found two bullet holes in the van, as well as a discharged cartridge of casings from a .45 caliber gun, which they linked to Peterson.

He was charged July 15 with a count of dangerous weapons – drive-by shooting and being a felon in possession of a gun.

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