8 charged in South Bend toddler's shooting death -- 2 still on the run
BREAKING: Eight people are facing criminal charges for their involvement in the murder of 2-year-old John Swoveland Jr. of South Bend. Police say the shooting happened during a fight between two rival gangs.
Two of the eight suspects are still on the run, say police, and are armed and dangerous.
Those charged are:
Joshua Hodge - 18 years old - charged with assisting a criminal
Tarez Buchanon - 19 - charged with murder and attempted murder
Xavier Prim - 23 - charged with assisting a criminal
Daniel Williams - 17-years old - Charged with assisting a criminal, carrying a handgun without a license within 1,000 feet of school property
Robert Griffin - 19 Charged with murder and attempted murder
There are also three juveniles who will be charged as adults: 15-year-old Cedric Washington Jr., 17-year-old Malcom Buchanon and 15-year-old Tyre Bradbury.
The Buchanan's, along with Bradbury, Washington Jr. and Williams are also being charged with gang enhancement.
Robert L. Griffin and Xavier Primm ARE NOT in custody. Police say they are still on the loose and are considered armed and dangerous.
Investigators say a stray bullet hit Swoveland in the chest last week while he played outside a relative's home on Campeau Street. They say the shots were fired while two gangs were fighting blocks away.
The two rival gangs met up at Coquillard Park for a fight. Things escalated. People pulled out guns and started shooting.
Court documents show a bullet from one of those guns, a revolver, traveled three blocks before it hit the young boy.
The day before the shooting, members of two rival gangs were involved in a fist fight: "Westside" gang and the "Eastside/Evilside" gang.
After that fight, there were social media conversations indicating that another fight would happen on the night of the shooting.
Police interviewed a number of children between ages of 11 and 13 who were playing at the park when the shooting happened.
Several of those kids were able to come forward to police and talk about what they saw.
Some even positively identified the people allegedly involved in the shooting. Investigators say those young kids are terrified for their safety, but they play a huge role in these charges.
"If you'd seen their interviews, they're brave little kids who saw a horrible, horrible event happen in front of their eyes," described Chief Deputy Prosecutor Ken Cotter. "And yet they were willing to come forward and tell us about it. And so, I thank their parents, and I thank those kids. I'm not sure my kids could do what they did - to see what they saw and then be able to let us know."
Police believe Robert Griffin may still be in the area. They're not sure about Xavier Primm, but investigators say someone knows where these men are, and if you do, call 911 or Crimestoppers.