12-year-old boy dies after being shot by juvenile at funeral

15-year-old charged with murdering 12-year-old boy at Savannah funeral home
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Savannah Police Department arrested a juvenile on Sunday in connection to Saturday's shooting of a 12-year-old at a funeral.

Police charged a 15-year-old with two counts of aggravated assault after SWAT, the Hostage Negotiation team and Savannah Police detectives executed arrest warrants early Sunday morning.

City of Savannah officials and members of the police department held a news conference Sunday afternoon saying they are working tirelessly on this case.

"We are absolutely relentless in following up all leads to put an end to this and conclusion to this particular incident," said Assistant Chief Kerry Thomas. "We made an arrest this morning of a juvenile in this incident through, again, the collaborative efforts of the community, the support of the public, through the relentless investigators and the commitment of the police department."

Saturday's shooting happened at Baker McCullough Bonaventure Funeral Home during 20-year-old Ricky Boyd's funeral. Boyd was shot and killed by police officers and U.S. Marshals on Jan. 23 as they were serving him a warrant for the murder of Balil Whitfield.

Thomas said Sunday the shooting at the funeral was an isolated incident and wouldn't confirm if it is connected to any previous shootings.

"It's not a retaliation, but we don't want to speak any further on the investigation," he said.

An SPD news release reiterated by stating, "detectives do not believe the Feb. 3 shooting at Bonaventure Funeral Home was in retaliation to the Jan. 21 fatal shooting of Balil Whitfield on Hudson Street."

Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn Bell asked for prayers for the 12-year-old victim's recovery. Police say he is still in the hospital in critical condition.

"If we can focus our attention on anything at this point I would plead for your prayers for the child," said Bell.

Alderman John Hall, who represents District 3 where the shooting occurred, thanked the community for helping with this case and vowed to get guns off the streets.

"I want to thank the public for their overwhelming support and response and help in this investigation. We are praying for the 12-year-old child who is fighting for his life after being shot while attending a funeral yesterday. We understand and we know we must get guns off the street," said Hall.  "As your alderman in this district, I want you to know that we will fight this type of senseless violence and behavior with all the might of our city government. Police and federal assistance can bring to bear. We will bring an end to this senseless violence."

A source close to the investigation has confirmed that 12-year-old John Cooksey has succumbed to his injuries on Monday night after he stepped between two teenagers that were fighting, taking a bullet to the head.

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