Three teenagers have been arrested in the death of a 5-year-old boy who was shot in a drive-by shooting in Winston-Salem on Saturday evening.
Oscar Mendez-Rodriguez, 17, of Pleasant Street, Winston-Salem, a 15-year-old and a 14-year-old were arrested after police found the suspected car at an apartment in the 3800 block of Old Vineyard Road. The 14-year-old was arrested there, police said. A .38 caliber pistol and a silver Nissan Sentra were seized. Mendez-Rodriguez was arrested at his Pleasant Street home. It’s unclear where the 15-year-old was arrested.
Mendez-Rodriguez has been charged with murder and is being held in the Forsyth County Detention Center with no bond allowed. He has a preliminary court date of 9 a.m. on July 25.
Police said the 5-year-old boy died after a bullet traveled into his apartment and struck him in the head about 5:20 p.m.
The gunshot was fired from a moving vehicle that was driving on Cole Road outside the family’s home at Cole Village Apartments, police said.
It is believed to be a random act of violence. It’s unclear how many shots were fired, Lt. Gregory Dorn with the Criminal Investigations Division said.
The boy was in his apartment with his mother, father and 3-year-old sister, none of whom were injured.
EMS arrived, began lifesaving procedures and transported the child to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery, police said.
The boy, whose name was not disclosed, died at the hospital at 8:04 p.m. Saturday.
Police said there was no evidence that the victim’s apartment was intentionally targeted.
Investigators learned from witnesses that a silver car occupied by several males drove through the area and began randomly firing handguns from the vehicle. Witnesses described multiple rounds being fired, and investigators located several fired shell casings in the area, police said.
Two other apartments and an unoccupied vehicle were also struck. One other damaged apartment was occupied, but no one was injured.
“It appears it was a light-colored sedan coming down Cole Road firing indiscriminately,” said Dorn, who was on the scene around 8:30 p.m. “The shots were fired from the moving vehicle.”
“There’s been quite a bit of shootings, discharging of firearms in this area,” he said. “We’re not sure if it’s gang related.”
This is the 13th homicide this year, compared to 12 at this time last year.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the Winston-Salem Police Department at 336-773-7700 or CrimeStoppers at 336-727-2800 (En Español at 336- 728-3904). CrimeStoppers may also be contacted via “Crime Stoppers of Winston-Salem” on Facebook.