EXCLUSIVE: Mother of fatally shot toddler breaks her silence, petitions for change

- For the first time since two-year-old Le’vonte King Jason Jones was shot and killed by a drive-by shooter his mother, LeShae Jones, sat down exclusively with Fox 9 Monday afternoon to make her voice heard.

“I want justice for my son,” the 25-year-old mother of now only two girls. On Friday she launched a petition to raise awareness about the case.

Le’Vonte was her first born and only son.

“It’s not really a lot of stuff I can do with my kids that won’t remind me of him,” she said of her grief over the loss.

Le’Vonte was shot and killed July 8 by a drive-by shooter at the intersection of Penn and Lowry Avenue North. His 18-month-old sister Melia survived a gunshot wound to the leg. Both Le’Vonte and Melia were sitting in the back seat of their father’s mini-van when the shooting happened.

The father, Melvonte Peterson, now sits in jail for illegal gun possession, a drive-by charge and his son’s murder. According to the criminal complaint, Peterson did not initiate the exchange.

“I feel Melvonte should be charged with… having a gun yes, not shooting the… kids,” LeShae told FOX 9. “The bullet and gun that took my son’s life belonged to Chris Maurice Welch.”

Minneapolis police obtained video that reveals the van, in which little Le’Vonte rode, jumping a curb as the first two shots are fired. Those shots came from inside a black Chevrolet Impala. 31-year-old Chris Welch was initially suspected to be the driver of the Impala.

Less than a week after Le’Vonte’s death, Welch walked a free man.

“Hopefully they catch whoever did it,” Welch told FOX 9 scratching his head. When asked where he was on July 8, Welch did not answer the question. When asked if he was involved at all, Welch responded, “Not at all.”

A representative with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office says they understand LeShae’s frustration. In a statement, the rep wrote: “Her child is dead and the child’s father has been charged with murder in that death, but the shooter in the other car has not yet been reliably identified.”

The rep also wrote, “We share Ms. Jones’ passion for justice in this case and that is why it remains under active investigation.”

Welch was released after the office cited they have not obtained sufficient evidence to charge him.

“This is not justice for my son,” LeShae said, reading the plea posted on her change.org petition as she continues to seek community support. Over the course of three days, the petition has garnered nearly 500 signatures.

Since Le’Vonte’s murder LeShae has moved out of north Minneapolis. 

In her petition she writes, “I am at a pivotal point in my life. I am suffering from the trauma this incident has caused. I am committed to getting justice for my son and working daily to ensure my remaining children are protected and that I myself can seek healing and change to lead a better more sustainable life for my family.”

The young mother fears her daughters Melia and three-month-old Melina remain targets.

“I cut off a lot of friends who live over in Minneapolis because I’m kind of scared,” LeShae said. She’s starting her life over, “all the way.”

Melvonte Peterson’s next court appearance is set for November 2.

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