MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A Twin Cities mother is demanding justice on the day her young son would have turned three years old.
Le'Vonte “King Jason” Jones was shot to death while riding in the back of his father's minivan last July. There have been several arrests made in the case in the last six months, but those cases have not resulted in any convictions.
One suspect was arrested shortly after the shooting, but the Hennepin County Attorney's office reported there was not enough evidence to prosecute.
The boy's dad, Melvonte Peterson, was eventually charged with murder for his alleged role in the shooting. Authorities have said Peterson was driving the minivan when he returned fire after being shot at. He was scheduled to go to trial, next month on related charges, but counts of murder and manslaughter were dismissed.
Now, Le’Vonte’s mother, LeShae Jones is desperate to find her son’s true killer.
“I believe if I don't keep stepping out and asking for help, it will just be another cold case,” Jones said.
Jones refuses to give up hope for justice in the tragic shooting death of her little boy, known simply as King. On Monday, her family should have been celebrating his third birthday.
“It would have been his year to start school. It's emotional,” Jones said.
The rolling shootout - described as gang related - unfolded at the intersection of Penn Avenue and Lowry Avenue in broad daylight and was partially captured on a nearby surveillance camera.
King's little sister, Melia, was also in the vehicle at the time of the shooting. She survived the gunfire, but still has a bullet wound on her lower leg.
Jones says that Melia often asks for King in her own little way, saying “bruh, bruh” to her mother, which she interprets to mean “brother, brother.”
As the memorial for King grows at the murder scene, with a robe and a crown for the little boy, his mom wonders when someone will finally be held responsible for his death.
"I think that would bring a lot of justice,” Jones said. “I would feel more comfortable walking around, being in public with my kids."
Jones and her family will still go ahead with a couple of birthday celebrations for King so they can cherish their sweet memories.
As for Minneapolis police, the department is still classifying the boy's shooting as an open investigation. Authorities are encouraging anyone with information about who was firing from the other car to come forward.
Statement from Hennepin County Attorney's Office
The tragic shooting death of 2-year-old Levonte Jones remains under investigation. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office remains hopeful that witnesses to the shooting will come forward so we will have sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the meantime, Melvonte Peterson, who was driving the van carrying Jones and a 15-month old girl, is scheduled to go on trial March 20. He faces charges of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a dangerous weapon-drive-by shooting for firing the shots that struck the hardware store that day.