Suspect Charged In Bronx Shooting That Left 5-Year-Old Boy Gravely Injured

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A suspect was charged late Tuesday in the shooting that wounded 5-year-old Jaheem Hunter, who is clinging to life after being struck in the head by a stray bullet in the Bronx.

Michael Quiles, 27, of the Bronx, was charged with attempted murder in the Monday shooting in the Morrisania section of the borough.

As CBS2’s Erin Logan reports, sources earlier said the defendant has 10 prior arrests and recently got out of prison.

Quiles was picked up by U.S. Marshals Tuesday morning and was questioned most of the day. He is the neighbor of Jaheem’s father.

Quiles was led away to a police car late Tuesday, while the adorable boy clung to life in the hospital, CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported. He was awaiting an appearance before a judge late Tuesday night.

Police say the little boy’s father, along with other witnesses, were easily able to identify him.

Meanwhile, a prayer vigil was held Tuesday night for Jaheem. Outside Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, there were prayers that the boy would pull through, and that there could be peace on the streets so kids could grow up without the fear of stray bullets.

jaheem hunter Suspect Charged In Bronx Shooting That Left 5 Year Old Boy Gravely Injured

There will be a prayer vigil Tuesday night for 5-year-old Jaheem Hunter, the Bronx boy who is clinging to life after being struck in the head by a stray bullet Monday. (credit:: CBS2)

Police say the little boy’s father, along with other witnesses, were easily able to identify him.

Earlier Tuesday, relatives Jaheem shielded their faces as they left his father’s Bronx apartment building. Late Tuesday, neighbors say their main focus is on the little boy’s recovery.

Dejron Taylor says the images from Monday afternoon won’t go away.

“I look out the window and see the little boy fall and see his young father saying, ‘you shot my son, you shot my son’,” Taylor tells CBS2.

The little boy, celebrating his fifth birthday, was walking out of the apartment building on Washington Avenue in Morrisania around 5 p.m. when police say two men met up with the alleged shooter to buy marijuana outside a nearby deli.

After an argument, several shots were fired.

“If my wife wouldn’t took five more minutes talking to the clerk, God forbid, something would’ve been on my side,” neighbor Heiko Rivera said. “As a father, no words to describe what the man must be going through right now.”

Even with the suspect believed to be responsible now in custody, his community is outraged that the innocent child was the victim of a stray bullet allegedly intended for someone else.

“Because it’s a 5-year-old it’s that much more devastating,” said resident Sidney Flores.

Neighbors, both sad and angry, have been leaving messages outside Jaheem’s apartment building Tuesday afternoon, expressing love and concern while detectives continued to look at surveillance footage.

“A male Hispanic in his 20s fired at least four shots at an unidentified male black,” Assistant Chief Larry Nikunin said.

Investigators say the bullets missed their intended targets and instead one of them struck Jaheem in the head.

Police said after he was hit, the boy’s father didn’t hesitate, carrying him into the waiting car that whisked him to the hospital.

Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the incident on Twitter Monday evening, calling the shooting “absolutely heartbreaking.”

“The city’s prayers are with him and the doctors working to save his life,” he said.

Aicha Bamba, a mother of a little girl, lives in the same building. She says gun violence in the community is far too common and more police protection is needed.

“Bad, very bad. I know it’s not good, I have children,” she said. “Especially here. Children are all over so why they stared shooting here, I don’t know.”

“It just tells you how many guns are out here,” said Flores. “And they’re in these buildings, they’re in these apartments.”

Jaheem remains in critical condition.

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