Home invader guns down 2-year-old

By Justin Boron

Police continue to search for a man they say shot and fatally wounded a 2-year old boy during a robbery attempt Thursday night at the Hunters Bay apartment complex in Forest Park.

After being airlifted to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, Xavier Miranda underwent surgery but died Friday morning, said Clayton County Police Capt. Tim Robinson.

An activist group has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and police say they are close to identifying him.

Michael Langford, a member of the United Youth Adult Conference was outraged with the crime, urging police to identify and apprehend him.

"The sun should not set tonight with this person responsible for the death of this 2-year old still on the streets of this city," he said.

The shooting occurred after a man stormed into the boy's house Thursday demanding money, police said.

Hours earlier, the family had cashed its $1,000 income tax return check, Robinson said.

William Miranda, the boy's 22-year-old father, told the gunman he did not have the money, Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner said.

The boy's mother, Chimere Calloway, 22, told police she had earlier left the apartment with the money.

After being denied, the gunman grabbed Xavier by the collar, put a gun to his head, and counted down from five, Turner said.

Upon reaching '1,' the family's aunt entered, startling the intruder, he said.

He pushed her to the floor, according a police report.

Two shots were fired. One struck Xavier in the neck, Turner said.

Officers found him laying on the floor, his body limp and lifeless, the report says.

It was unclear whether the shots were aimed at anyone in particular in the apartment, police said.

But a neighbor said clearly it was intentional.

"It was six or seven people in and only one of them go hit in the neck," said Jahaya Whitmore. "He was aiming for that child."

Police were still trying to identify the assailant Friday.

Turner described the gunman as a tall, black male with short-cropped hair. He was last seen wearing a blue and black jacket and a white T-shirt. Thursday night he fled the scene in a white vehicle, possibly a Suburban.

During the day Friday, neighbors came out of their house as news vans and reporters waited for the family to return from the hospital.

One resident said he had already been considering moving from Clayton County after living a floor below a drug dealer.

The shooting affirmed his inclination.

"The county is not a real safe place to raise a family," said Robert Lee, 36.

He said he worried for his two toddler daughters Brittney, 2, and Beyonce,1.

"I didn't even think that it would happen, especially across the street," Lee said.

Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill also showed up to the apartments to pay his respects.

He said he would assign his COBRA squad to the neighborhood to keep an eye out for possible suspects and recurring violence.