BY: BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC NEWS
(ARLINGTON, TX.) — The Arlington Police Department has made an arrest in connection to the shooting death of 4-year-old Messiah Taplin.
On Friday afternoon, 21-year-old Zantyler Foster-Hooks was booked into the Arlington City Jail on one count of manslaughter. Based on evidence gathered at the scene and statements the suspect allegedly made to detectives, a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was taken into custody without incident a short time later, according to a statement from Arlington police.
The 4-year-old boy was killed in an Arlington, Texas, apartment in the first hour of the new year when police say he was apparently shot by a man dancing and celebrating with a firearm just after the clock struck midnight.
The child was shot about 12:30 a.m. Friday and died just after 1 a.m. at a local hospital, police said.
Tim Ciesco, a spokesman for the Arlington Police Department, told ABC News the child was shot in the head. He said the New Year’s reveler who allegedly discharged his gun has been arrested and jailed on suspicion of killing Messiah.
Police said the suspect was detained along with other “persons of interest” for questioning in the homicide investigation.
“Based on evidence gathered, and statements made by the individuals who were inside the apartment at the time, it appears one of the adult males in the apartment was dancing or celebrating with a firearm — and it discharged, striking the 4-year-old boy in the head,” Ciesco said.
Officers went to an apartment complex in the north part of the suburban Dallas city after a 911 caller reported hearing gunfire, the Arlington Police Department said in an earlier statement.
When officers arrived, they followed a trail of blood leading to an unlocked apartment, according to the statement.
“Officers went inside and discovered a crime scene. No one was inside of the apartment at that time,” the statement reads.
As officers were investigating the scene, a vehicle drove into the parking lot that matched a car spotted leaving the apartment complex shortly after the shooting, police said. Officers stopped the car and detained its occupants.
It was not immediately clear if the people inside the car were the “persons of interest” police are questioning.
Homicide detectives were later notified by police in Grand Prairie, about seven miles east of Arlington, that a 4-year-old boy was taken to a hospital in their city and died from an apparent gunshot wound, according to the statement.
It’s unclear if Foster-Hooks has legal representation at this time, or if a court or arraignment date has been set.
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