Drive-by shooting that left 4-year-old boy dead may have been gang retaliation

De'Earlvion Whitley (Photo courtesy Texas Spartans Football / Brian Medina)

SAN ANTONIO - Police Chief William McManus said the death of a 4-year-old boy was likely the result of gang violence that has plagued an East Side neighborhood for generations.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office identified the child as De-Earlvion Whitley. He would have turned 5-years-old in August.

De-Earlvion was asleep in the front room a house in the 200 block of Hub Avenue when police say someone drove by and opened fire on the house shortly before midnight on Wednesday. A bullet went through a wall and hit him in the head.

His mother was also hit. She suffered two gunshot wounds to her leg and was taken to a hospital. Another child in the home, believed to be 7-years-old, was not hurt.

Neighbors told police they only heard the screeching of tires as the shooter drove away.

A short time later, four suspects were arrested nearby in two cars that were 'loaded up with guns and ammunition,' according to Chief McManus. He said it was unclear whether those suspects were connected to the child's shooting death, but said officers were investigating any possible connection.

He said the drive-by shooting may have been in retaliation for another shooting in the same area on Wednesday when someone opened fire on a storefront located near Hub Avenue and Spriggsdale Boulevard. Both shootings followed a period of relative calm in the area, but McManus said street gangs have existed in the area for generations. Additional SAPD resources will be added to the area in an effort to clamp down on the ongoing violence, he said.

“Here we are again,” said Chief McManus.

McManus asked how many times does he and other city leaders have to say enough is enough.

“The stuff going on around here has been going on for generations, and we know who it is, gang member’s grandkids are gang members now,” said Chief McManus.

Police were in the area of the shooting, patrolling, aware that in chief’s words gang activity is “starting up again on the East Side.”

"We will arrest you at some point," McManus promised. "We will not stop until we arrest you."

Bexar County District Attorney Nico Lahood also expressed his frustration with the situation.

“The 4-year-old child did nothing wrong. That is the spilling of innocent blood,” said Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood.

LaHood says the San Antonio community must act on our words to make a change.

“We come up here, and we do the same old stuff, and that is the definition of insanity," said Lahood. "I know we are in the house of the Lord, but if this doesn’t piss you off, I don’t know what will.

Chief McManus said that in just the few months the department's Violent Crimes Task Force has been at work, they have arrested more than 2,000 people, and they'll now have to find who is responsible for this death and arrest them too.

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