Toddler’s funeral set for Saturday morning
The man accused of firing the shot that mortally wounded 13-month-old Londyn Samuels has been arrested.
Police on Thursday booked 19-year-old Darnell Ramee with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.
New Orleans police officers and federal marshals found Ramee inside of a home in the 2900 block of Paris Avenue, said Remi Braden, a police spokeswoman.
Ramee’s arrest came a day after his alleged counterpart, 24-year-old Keelen Armstrong, was arrested on the same charges.
While detectives believe that Ramee was the gunman, it was not immediately clear if Armstrong also fired upon the woman and baby, Braden said.
State law allows for a person to be charged with a crime if he is not directly responsible for a person’s death but there is suspicion that he aided in the crime or was present when it happened.
Braden said detective believe Armstrong was on the scene when the shooting happened.
Police have said two gunshots wounded the babysitter, including one that tore through her body and pierced Londyn in the neck or head.
While police have now identified both suspects in the shooting, they have yet to specify a motive.
Braden on Thursday declined to discuss that aspect of the case, citing the ongoing investigation.
Londyn’s father, Keion Reed, said neither he nor any of his relatives know Armstrong. He declined to comment further on the arrest. The babysitter’s grandfather, who asked not to be identified, also said he had not heard of Armstrong before his arrest and said he did not want to speculate on a reason for the shooting.
However, a police report revealed some details about the timeline of events that led up to the shooting last Thursday night.
According to the documents, filed at Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, witnesses told investigators that the babysitter stopped by her friend’s house a short time before the shooting. Several people were at the home, including Armstrong and another man described only as “Dee Dee.” Police declined to say Thursday night if Dee Dee is Ramee.
Dee Dee had a 9 mm handgun that he gave to Armstrong. That gun, police say, was used to wound the woman and kill Londyn.
After the shooting, the babysitter ran into her home in the 2800 block of South Saratoga Street and told relatives that the men who shot her were at her friend’s home. The woman later identified Armstrong as one of her assailants through a photographic lineup, according to court documents.
The babysitter remained hospitalized on Thursday but was out of intensive care, her grandfather said.
Armstrong was arrested Wednesday morning in New Orleans East when police clocked him driving 80 mph on Interstate 10. He was wanted on an attachment for driving on a suspended license, Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said Wednesday night.
The identification of Armstrong as the gunman led homicide Detective Robert Barrere to book him with first-degree murder for Londyn’s death and attempted first-degree murder for shooting the babysitter in the back.
Serpas on Wednesday declined to say if Armstrong was cooperating with detectives or had identified the second man, but he did urge Ramee to surrender, saying that investigators have gathered more information about him than he might realize.
As police continued to search for the second gunman, Londyn’s family prepared to lay her to rest.
A funeral for the toddler will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church, 1807 LaSalle St., her father said.
“This is phenomenal work done by our homicide division. I can’t praise these detectives enough,” Serpas said in a prepared statement. “Detective Robert Barrere, who was the lead in this case, was tenacious, and I had no doubt that he and our team would wrap up this case. I’m hoping the people of this neighborhood can rest a bit easier tonight.”
Also on Thursday, a person of interest in the murder Monday of 11-year-old Arabian Gayles met with police to discuss that case.
Police believe Keith Ward, 33, has information about the person or people who opened fire on Arabian’s house in the 1300 block of Gen. Ogden Street early Monday morning, killing her and wounding an 11-year-old cousin and a 38-year-old man who was in the home.
Ward is not a suspect in that case, police have said.
Staff writer Claire Galofaro
contributed to this report.