Jackson police seek suspect who shot, killed toddler; 27 bullet holes riddled home

Armon Burton (middle)
Armon Burton (middle)
Armon Burton (middle)

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — Jackson police are searching for the person who shot and killed 3-year-old Armon Burton.

It happened just after midnight. Police believe the shooter used an assault rifle to fire into the home, blasting it with dozens of bullets. An investigation shows at least 27 bullet holes in the home.

One of those bullets went into the toddler’s back and exited his head, killing him as he lay in bed with his father.

“Obviously a person that is morally deprived, has no sense of value as far as human life is concerned,” said Assistant Police Chief Lee Vance of the shooter. “A completely cowardly reckless act.”

Neighbors said about 8 p.m. Wednesday a resident of the home was outside shooting a gun. They say a truck pulled up and the resident and whoever was in the truck argued, then they exchanged gunshots. Later that night, more shots were fired at the home, killing the toddler.

“It was two incidents,” one neighbor, who didn’t want to give his name, told the Clarion-Ledger. “They (Police) didn’t come until the baby got killed.”

Vance said that’s because the calls on the first incident were called in as “shots fired” and nobody would give an address or speak with the police.

“It’s not uncommon for us to receive a shots fired call, but that’s far different than an actual shooting, and the location the officers were given to go to was not at the address where the shooting actually took place,” Vance explained. “If you want to be helpful and you were in the area when it happened, provide us with some information that helps us solve this case.”

The unidentified neighbor said the street has been quiet for many years, but when the child’s family moved into the house, traffic increased. “There’s been trouble there ever since,” he said.

Still, he said he was shocked that such a thing could take place so close to where he lived.

Most in the neighborhood have been tight-lipped about the shooting, indicating they don’t want to get involved. A group of young men gathered in the yard of the toddler’s home, looking at the bullet holes and talking in low voices. They said they didn’t know the family. One of them even commented, “If you’re a reporter, I don’t know nothing.”

Vance said police are running into the same problem.

“People don’t want to get involved, and that’s their prerogative, some people feel like they’d put their own lives in danger if they do,” he said. “Here’s what I do know: Somebody out there knows who fired those shots into that house and killed that baby. Somebody knows. Somebody may have actually participated in it. Pick up the phone and call us.”

The child’s grandfather, Shannon Harris, told reporters the family is heartbroken over the loss and urged anyone who might know something to come forward.

Vance said anyone with information can call Jackson police at 601-960-1234 or Crimestoppers at 601-355-8177.