One of three men arrested in the killing of 8-year-old Peyton "PJ" Evans in Prince George's County has a history of gun violence and was let out of jail on bond in two cases that remain pending, the state's attorney for the county told News4.
The suspects, 21-year-old Desmond Nkwocha, 23-year-old Mark Nkwocha and 23-year-old George Shamman, all face attempted first-degree murder, second-degree murder and weapons-related charges, police said.
“The arrest of these suspects is only the first step in in ensuring the road to justice begins for PJ Evans,” Prince George's County Police Chief Malik Aziz said.
Desmond Nkwocha has active felony fire-arm charges from two separate cases including one from this year, State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy said. He wasn't in jail, although he's violated probation before.
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Braveboy said the state requested Desmond Nkwocha be held without bond during two separate bail reviews. In both cases, the court released him on a monetary bond, she said.
"However, we intend to fully prosecute both cases on the pending trial dates," Braveboy said in a statement.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks addressed violent offenders not being held behind bars.
“Guns are a huge problem in our community, and the individuals who wield them have to be held accountable, and that's another part of the system that we don't have control over,” she said.
PJ was killed Aug. 24 after he was shot while in a relative's apartment in Landover, Maryland, playing a video game and eating tacos, his family said.
"These suspects attempted to steal an innocent child's future, but we know his legacy will live on, and his light can never be extinguished," Aziz said.
The three suspects are being held without bond.
“Tears rolled, of course, seeing the faces of the guys who did this to my son,” said PJ's mom, Tiffani Evans. “It's like a confused feeling, but at the same time it's a grateful feeling, because that's one less person that they can hurt.”
PJ was getting ready to start third grade and had already gone shopping for new shoes for the school year, his family said. His mom described him as a mathematician and said he had a bright future.
"That's all I had. That’s all I lived for. … I sacrificed so much in my life for that little boy, and now my son gone to some coward dudes that wanted to do some coward things instead of being a man," she said.
At a presser on Thursday, Evans said police solved the case in 21 days—her son's favorite number. The family wore T-shirts with the number 21 in honor of PJ.
“Long live PJ, long live 21,” she said. "Twenty-one is our angel number."
Evans also spoke to parents.
“Hold your babies every day and tell them they love them because they are our future," she said.
"Every kid in this area has me forever," Evans continued.
Chief Aziz said they can’t say who pulled the trigger and killed the boy. Detectives are still investigating where the guns involved in the crime came from, Aziz said.
If anyone has more information about this fatal shooting, they are asked to call detectives at 301-516-2512 or anonymously at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) and refer to case number 21-0038549.