Skip to main content

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

  • Author:
  • Updated:

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.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 9.58.36 PM

Eric Perkins, Miss Minnesota, Paul Fletcher create new podcast

The podcast is released Tuesdays at 8 a.m. and is available wherever you find podcasts.

Mock aircraft cabin.

MSP Airport debuts mock aircraft to help ease flying anxiety

The pre-flight experiences cover the TSA screening procedure, exploring a terminal, boarding a plane and meeting a pilot, and preparing for takeoff.

Scripps National Spelling Bee

These Minnesota kids will be competing at National Spelling Bee

The upcoming event in Maryland will be the first fully in-person Scripps National Spelling Bee since 2019.

covid, kids

New data shows how omicron has impacted kids in Minnesota

The new data shows breakthrough data during the omicron period, which began Dec. 19, 2021.

Javen Juan Moreno

Albert Lea shooting suspect arrested after 3 weeks on the run

He is accused of shooting a man in the upper thigh on May 1.


Motorcyclist, 59, killed after losing control on right curve

The Harley Davidson rider was thrown from his bike.

state capitol Minnesota

Minnesota's 2022 legislative session: What's happening?

A list of items agreed upon and yet to reach any bipartisan agreement in the latest legislative session.

water drain

Water main break floods 40-45 homes in St. Louis Park

The city says the rupture happened on Minnetonka Boulevard.

Eli Hart

Charges: 6-year-old Eli Hart shot up to 9 times by his mother

The 28-year-old is facing 2nd-degree murder charges.

dave lee wcco radio

Former WCCO Radio host Dave Lee moves into podcasts

His new podcast, called 'My First Concert,' launched last week.

Tow Boat

Tow boat collides with Mississippi River lock and dam in Alma, WI

The crash remains under investigation by the United States Coast Guard.

unsplash school bus

Police: Man in minivan approached kids, claimed he was former principal

Investigators say children were approached by a man in a white minivan who falsely claimed he'd been a local school principal.


2 charged in toddler's 'horrific' death

Murder charges have been filed against a mother and boyfriend in the "horrific" death of her 19-month-old. According to a newly filed criminal complaint, the toddler's death was caused by a blood infection from an untreated burn on his hand. He also had "internal bleeding" in his stomach, a "skull fracture" and a "cigarette burn" to his foot, among other injuries.