A man has been charged in connection with the shooting death of a 2-year-old girl in Philadelphia, police said Wednesday, adding that a second suspect is in also now in custody.
Police have identified the suspect as Freddie Perez Jr. and said he was arrested on Tuesday in Chester, Pa.
Perez, 30, has been charged with nine counts of attempted murder and two of conspiracy to commit murder, Fox 29 reported, adding that police have not identified Perez as the gunman, but said he was involved in the shooting.
The Philadelphia district attorney did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Philadelphia police told Fox News on Wednesday that a second male suspect is in custody on unrelated charges and has not yet been formally charged, and therefore, has not yet been identified.
Investigators said 2-year-old Nikolette Rivera was shot once in the back of the head on Sunday and was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said the shooting happened around 3:30 p.m. in a home on Water Street in Kensington, near Philly.
Rivera’s mother, 24, was holding her daughter at the time of the shooting and was rushed to an area hospital with a gunshot wound to her left arm and a graze wound to the head, according to police. She was listed in stable condition.
Police said a 33-year-old man, who was cleaning the carpets inside the home, was shot in the abdomen and rushed by police to the hospital in critical but stable condition. Police told Fox News they are both expected to survive.
Police said Rivera’s mother and her 46-year mother were inside the home having the carpets cleaned and were watching several small children when shots were fired through the front door and front windows, striking all three victims. Detectives found six rifle casings in the street directly in front of the house, according to police, adding that investigators are also looking at a possible connection to a shooting that took place nearby eight minutes before the homicide. Police said in that shooting, two men opened fire on a black SUV using an assault rifle and a handgun.
Investigators said they believe Rivera’s father may have been the target in the shooting that killed his daughter, Fox 29 reported.
Police said the investigation is ongoing.
Dozens gathered to remember Rivera Monday night, the television station reported.
“She was awesome. She was great. She was a star. She was a superstar,” her great-aunt Amelia Pagan reportedly said.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney responded to the weekend violence in the city after two separate shootings that left Rivera dead and an 11-month-old boy in the hospital.
“Outraged, disgusted, and heartbroken by the violence this weekend that claimed the life of an innocent 2-year-old and left another infant fighting for his life,” Kenney tweeted. “My prayers are with their families and communities during this tragic time. Philadelphians should not live in fear of violence that could take away a child’s life. But for too many, this is a sad reality. With the unabated flow of illegal guns and drugs, we must do whatever we can locally to address violence and help residents.”
Following the weekend’s bursts of violence, Coulter reportedly said that in her 30-year law enforcement career, she had not seen two separate shootings in less than 24 hours involving children so young.