A 23-year-old man was held without bail Saturday after pleading not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder and being formally accused of shooting a toddler dead in his stroller.
Daquan Breland pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in New York a day after he and Daquan Wright, 19, were arrested in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. in the slaying of 1-year-old Antiq Hennis.
It wasn't clear if either suspect had an attorney. Wright is awaiting arraignment.
Authorities say the boy's parents were pushing him in a stroller while crossing a street in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn on Sunday evening when gunfire broke out. The child was struck on the left side of his face and pronounced dead at a hospital.
Law-enforcement sources, citing eyewitnesses, told the New York Post that Breland was the triggerman and intended to shoot the boy's father, 21-year-old Anthony Hennis. One source told the paper that an eyewitness heard Breland tell one of his friends "I just shot that mother[expletive]," referring to Anthony Hennis. The gun has not been recovered, and New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Friday that Anthony Hennis was not cooperating with the investigation, leaving the question of motive open.
The elder Hennis had just picked up his son at the home of the baby's mother, Cherise Miller, to take him to visit Hennis' grandmother, police said. Hennis put the boy in the stroller and was pushing him across the street when four shots were fired, according to police.
The Post reported Friday that Hennis is reputed to be a member of the Crips street gang and has 25 arrests, mainly for drug offenses. Breland is on parole for a 2011 armed assault in upstate New York, while Wright has an open arrest warrant from Brooklyn on charges of criminal weapons possession and has numerous sealed juvenile arrests, according to the paper.
On Friday evening, hundreds attended a funeral for Antiq held at the Grace Funeral Chapel in Ozone Park in Queens.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.