A weeklong manhunt in the shooting of a toddler outside a Stone Mountain Kroger ended Wednesday when Chazerel J. Burton turned himself into the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office.
“There were a lot of people putting pressure on this person to turn himself in,” said DeKalb Police Chief Cedric Alexander. A tip given to Crime Stoppers last week helped investigators identify Burton as the suspect.
Burton is charged with three counts of aggravated assault and one count of criminal damage. He is accused of indiscriminately firing up to 15 bullets into a vehicle occupied by 2-year-old Evan Harrison and his mother following an altercation with the boy’s father.
The toddler was shot once in the abdomen and remains on a ventilator at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.
“There’s still reason to be concerned, but he [the toddler is] doing much better,” said DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, who visited the family on Tuesday. “He’s doing more breathing on his own.”
Little is known about the 21-year-old suspect, whose last known mailing address was in rural Texas. There are no public records of any criminal convictions or jail time served.
According to police, Evan’s father witnessed Burton snatch a chain from someone’s neck outside a Chase Bank branch. The father confronted Burton after spotting him walking in front of the Kroger on North Hairston Road.
Police said they believe Burton knew a child was in the car when he began shooting.
“There was potential for this to be far (worse),” Alexander said.
Burton is being held at the DeKalb Jail pending his first court appearance, likely on Friday.