SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — A 23-year-old man was arraigned in connection with a drive-by shooting that killed a baby and injured two other young girls as they rode in a car with their mothers.
Chavez Ocasio was being held in the Onondaga County jail on charges of murder, tampering with evidence, weapons possession and a parole violation, according to inmate records.
Syracuse Police referred questions about Ocasio’s arrest and alleged role in the shooting to the county district attorney’s office, which declined to discuss the case.
During an appearance Tuesday in City Court, prosecutor Melinda McGunnigle was granted her request that Ocasio’s court record be sealed to avoid jeopardizing the ongoing investigation, The Post-Standard reported.
The three children were struck by gunfire shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday when someone opened fire from another car, Syracuse police said Monday. An 11-month-old girl was killed and two sisters, ages 3 and 8, were injured.
The baby’s mother and the mother of the other two girls also were in the car. They were not hurt.
Authorities have not released the names of the victims or commented on a possible motive for the shooting.
Ocasio’s attorney, William Sullivan, could not be reached by phone or email for comment after the arraignment. He entered a not guilty plea on Ocasio’s behalf.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for.
Ocasio is a student at Onondaga Community College and has been featured in campus news stories discussing his experiences in college after being incarcerated as a teenager.
State records show he was sentenced to five years in prison for burglary at the age of 17. He was released in September 2019 after serving four years.
He worked as a fast food manager, a college news story said.
“Our thoughts are with the victims and their families,” Onondaga Community College said in an emailed statement.