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Wrong brother charged in shooting of infant, police say

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A Jackson man and his girlfriend face charges in connection with a June 17 shooting which left a one-year-old child in critical condition after the couple gave statements that the man’s older brother committed the crime.

Justin O’Neal Byrd, 22, has been in continuous custody on unrelated parole violation charges, according to a Friday night news release from the Jackson Police Department. He will be formally charged with attempted first degree murder and filing a false police report. He will be arraigned at 8 a.m. Monday at in Jackson City Court.

His girlfriend, Jamila Kinnie, has been taken into custody for filing a false police report.

The release said investigators will appear in Jackson City Court when court Monday morning seeking that charges against Justin Byrd’s older brother, Antonio “Tony” Demont Byrd, 24, be dismissed.

On June 17, around 10:30 p.m., a shot, which was fired during a dispute at the Villages Apartments, located at 550 Old Hickory Blvd., Building 16, that struck a one-year-old.

The release said on June 19, Tony Byrd was charged with attempted second degree murder, felony reckless endangerment and tampering with evidence. The charges were largely based on statements and identifications of two principal parties: Justin Byrd and Kinnie. Both identified Tony, as the shooter.

Investigators continued to work throughout the week on the case and an associated burglary case, the release said. At the time the shooting occurred, several people had been in a verbal confrontation with Kinnie and Justin Byrd. Justin Byrd stayed with Kinnie in Building 16 and was suspected by their neighbors of breaking into their apartment and stealing a television earlier in the day. It was during that confrontation that the shot was fired, from a red Fiat in which Justin Byrd was a passenger, that struck the child.

The release said the suspects in the burglary have been identified and investigators determined that Justin Byrd did participate in the burglary. Meanwhile, information developed by investigators in interviews of eyewitnesses, who had previously been unavailable to police, cast doubt on Justin Byrd and Kinnie’s statements against and identification of Tony Byrd.

When Justin Byrd and Kinnie were questioned again by investigators, both recanted their statements and identifications of Tony Byrd, with Justin Byrd identifying another individual as the driver and shooter.
The investigators have been able to corroborate the witnesses who identified Justin Byrd as the shooter and explore Tony Byrd’s alibi. All findings have been reviewed with the District Attorney’s Office.

Jackson Police Captain Mike Holt also made a correction about information reported when the information about the incident was first released.
“I initially understood that the child’s mother was holding him when he was shot,” Holt said in the release. “That is not the case. The lady holding the child at the time of the shooting was not the mother but a relative of Ms. Kinnie.”

Holt added, “We do not have any additional information that we can release at this time.”

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