A 1-year-old boy being cared for by his grandmother was fatally shot early Monday morning in Mesa after two masked men came to her backdoor and started a confrontation that ended with one of the men firing at least one gunshot.
Mesa police spokesman Ed Wessing said investigators don't yet know whether the masked men came to the woman's apartment to commit a home invasion or whether the shooting is connected to another crime, such as immigrant or drug trafficking.
And it's not known whether the masked men had a previous connection with anyone in the 1-year-old boy's family.
Investigators don't believe the child, whose name is Jeremy Pineda, was targeted for the shooting, but instead was nearby when a shot was fired and was struck by the bullet. "We are treating it as a homicide," Wessing said. No arrests have been made.
The masked men came to the apartment while the grandmother was caring for five of her grandchildren while their mothers worked early-morning jobs. The grandmother and the four other grandchildren, who range in age from 2 to 8 years old, weren't injured.
The grandmother spotted the masked men at her opened backdoor as she was doing laundry. As the grandmother became upset and confronted the men, a shot was fired and struck Pineda in the head, Wessing said.
As the gunman ran away on foot without taking any items from the apartment, the grandmother brought the boy to a neighbor's apartment. Emergency workers performed CPR on the boy and brought him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
After the shooting, a man who was in an area near the apartment reported seeing two men in dark clothes running, but they weren't wearing masks.
Officers, police dogs and a helicopter then flooded the area to look for witnesses, evidence or suspects but found none.