Mother of slain toddler talks about shooting

Published On: Mar 22 2013 10:28:52 AM EDT
Updated On: Mar 22 2013 03:01:52 PM EDT

The mother of the 13-month-old shot and killed in Brunswick's South End on Thursday morning says they were confronted by two young boys who demanded money, then opened fire when she reached for her purse.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. -

The mother of the 13-month-old shot and killed in Brunswick's South End on Thursday morning says they were confronted by two young boys who demanded money, then opened fire when she reached for her purse.

"He shot me in the ear and grazed my head... and then he shot me in the leg," said Sherry West. "Then he walked over and shot my baby in the face. He must have died instantly."

Police say the child, Antonio Santiago, did die at the scene. West (pictured, below) was taken to the Brunswick campus of the Southeast Georgia Health System with gunshot wounds  She was back home Friday morning talking about the shooting.

"He was a beautiful baby, West said on her son. "Quietly inquisitive, independent, loud, sometimes quiet. Loves Mickey Mouse and Disney movies."

The Brunswick police say they have received 30 tips since the shooting and are continuing an active search for two boys West described as her attackers -- believed to be between 10 and 15 years old -- but are still investigating all options.

"We're not ruling anything or anyone out," said Brunswick Police Information Officer Todd Rhodes said Friday morning.  "Since yesterday we've been assertive in our efforts to identify locate and arrest the perpetrators. "With the assistance of the Glynn County School Board campus police, we are checking attendance and absentee lists of individuals fitting the description as possible suspects."

IMAGES:  Brunswick crime scene, manhunt

West, the only witness to the shooting, described the shooter as a black male between 13 and 15 year old wearing a long sleeve red shirt, 5-feet 7-inches to 5-feet 9-inches tall, with curly hair last seen running east on London Street.  Police said he was with a second boy, shorter and wearing a black shirt and who looked to be a couple of years younger.s

Police with automatic weapons went door-to-door in a 100-block area of Brunswick into the evening Thursday, searching for the two suspects.

Brunswick police are offering a $10,000 reward for "information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for this horrific act."

"Mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, brother, sister, if you know something, bring young people in or call in the information," said Brunswick Mayor Bryan Thompson. "We need info. They will be caught, but we need help to get them off the street, and the help they need also."

The boy's father, Louis Santiago, said he just wants to the people who took his baby's life to be caught.

"I forgive them, but they're going to have to pay for the consequences," Santiago said. "They took somebody I really love. I was going to enjoy my life with him. We had plans for college and everything."

Anyone with any information about the shooting is asked to call Brunswick Police Department's Silent Witness line at 912-267-5516 or the Glynn County Police Department's Silent Witness line at 912-264-1333.  Information can also be emailed to bpdtips@brunswickpolice.org.

Community shocked

Many Brunswick residents spent Thursday evening in prayer.  Whether hands lifted to heaven or on their face in humility, their request is for their community and the families affected.

Church members offered information to the God they believe knows all, sees all and can do all they ask.

"In this instance, as a parent myself, I ask God to give the mother peace, give the family strength, to help through this, a very difficult time," said Dee Rogers.

"Really, the issue is children," said Eddie. "We're worried about everything else, wars, but we're not really worried about what's going on at home."

"I will also pray for the families of the children that committed the crime, because that's hard as a parent," said Rogers. "You raised someone that would do something like this."

"You have child infancy, hasn't a chance to live life and this happens," continued Rogers. "Then, you have children perpetrating the crime."

Investigators say they have searched all day and into the night, in search of the people identified as the shooter.

In urging the community to help solve this case, Thompson said anyone who has information on the suspect and doesn't share it with police, in his mind, he considers them as guilty as the shooter, or shooters.

"If they have info, not giving info, they're complicit in this murder also," said Thompson. "Their finger on the trigger, as surely as shooter's finger on the trigger of the gun.

Thompson said he doesn't sense any discouragement.

"Right now, there's a mixture of exhaustion and hope," said Thompson. "We know we're going to catch the suspects, just a matter of time. We hope sooner than later."

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