WILKINSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — The family of a 15-month-old boy who died in a shooting is demanding change.
Marcus White, Jr. was shot and killed while he was at a picnic with his family in East Hills in 2013. Twenty-two-year-old Gregory Parker was taken into custody on Saturday afternoon and is accused of having pulled the trigger.
On Tuesday, the attorney for the family says the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office knew for years who killed the toddler but avoided an arrest to use Parker for information on another case.
Paul Jubas, the family’s attorney, filed a federal lawsuit against Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala, the Allegheny County Police Department and the United States for an ATF agent’s role in the investigation.
He is also sending a letter to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, asking him to take over the case.
“We kind of lost hope thinking nothing was going to happen. And for it to resurface, we know it’s not an accident or a coincidence. We are positive that we will get justice in some form,” said Shedayah Tyler, Baby Marcus’ aunt, told KDKA’s Jennifer Borrasso.
Jubas claims police had a confession years ago from Parker.
“We are calling on the Pennsylvania Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, to come in and prove to this family, prove to this city, to this county, that baby Marcus’ life mattered,” Jubas said.
Police have not said what evidence was used to make the arrest or why the arrest happened on Saturday.
Police have also not said whether or not they received a confession, as White’s family alleges.
Parker is facing criminal homicide, criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault and gun charges.
“You don’t get to cover up a confession for two years and then prosecute the murder once it accidentally gets out,” Jubas said.
A spokesperson for the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office released a statement, saying:
“Yesterday’s filing is wrong on the facts and wrong on the law. That said, our office deals with frivolous matters on a regular basis, and this will be dealt with in due course.”
On Wednesday, Attorney General Josh Shapiro responded to KDKA with the following statement:
“Marcus White Jr.’s life did matter and having his life recklessly cut short at just 15 months is nothing short of an unacceptable tragedy. My deepest sympathies go out to Marcus’ family. Pennsylvania law requires my office receive a referral from a District Attorney’s office in order to take over the case.”