Shooting that killed 5-year-old in Winston-Salem was not random, police now say

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Police now say the shooting that killed a 5-year-old boy in Winston-Salem Saturday was not random but the child was not the intended target.

Police say they received information that a group of individuals were targeted, but police don't know why. Police originally believed the child was shot as a vehicle drove by with people shooting randomly.

Earlier this week, Winston-Salem police arrested three teenagers in connection with the shooting of a 5-year-old boy on Cole Ridge Circle.

Oscar Mendez-Rodriguez

Investigators were able to locate the suspect vehicle and subsequently arrested three teenagers -- a 14-year-old, a 15-year-old, and a 17-year-old identified as Oscar Mendez-Rodriguez.

Police say they are looking for one more person.

At approximately 5:20 p.m. on Saturday, police responded to 2941 Cole Ridge Circle Apt E to a report of a shooting involving a 5-year-old boy.

Upon arrival, officers found the child suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the head.

Authorities with EMS arrived, began lifesaving procedures and took the child to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center by ambulance.

Medical staff performed emergency surgery; however, the child passed away around 8 p.m.

Investigators learned from witnesses that a silver passenger vehicle, occupied by several males, drove through the area and began firing handguns from the vehicle.

Witnesses described multiple rounds being fired and investigators located several fired shell casings in the area.

Witnesses said the suspects were firing in the direction of 2941 Cole Ridge Circle Apartment E, which was occupied by the child, his mother, his father and a 3-year-old sister.

Fired rounds struck two other apartments and an unoccupied vehicle.

A total of three apartments were struck. No one else was injured.

Investigators were able to develop suspect information, which led them to an apartment located in the 3800 block of Old Vineyard Road.

They found the suspect vehicle there and arrested the three suspects.

A .38-caliber handgun was seized at this scene.

All three suspects are in jail under no bond.

Mendez-Rodriguez's next scheduled court appearance will be next month.

This investigation is still very active so no other information will be released at this time.

Authorities are asking that anyone with information regarding this investigation contact the Winston-Salem Police Department at (336) 773-7700 or CrimeStoppers at (336) 727-2800.

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