A 34-year-old father accused of fatally shooting his 8-month-old son and kidnapping two of his other children is in custody, police say.
Diata Crockett, accused in the shooting of Reign Crockett in St. Louis, was arrested on May 25, a day after the shooting, police tell KMOV-TV. He turned himself in to police.
Police say Crockett, 34, meant to shoot his wife and the mother of his children during a domestic dispute. At a press conference, Police Chief Sam Dotson told reporters that Crockett forced his wife into a rental car at gunpoint, along with three of their children.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Shot His Own Baby Who Was Being Held in His Mother’s Arms, Police Say
Police Chief Sam Dotson told reporters that after Crockett forced his wife and three of his children into a car at gunpoint, the mother “saw an opportunity to escape” and jumped out of the vehicle. At this point Crockett meant to shoot his wife, but shot his 8-month-old son, Reign Crockett, instead, Dotson said. He then drove off with the other two children.
The desperate mother flagged down a passing driver as she held her mortally wounded baby. The good Samaritan rushed them to a nearby hospital as Crockett chased them down, authorities said. Chief Dotson stated, “During this eleven-minute phone conversation that is happening, you hear them say in the car that ‘He’s trying to run us off the road. He’s trying to cause an accident. He’s following us.'”
2. The Couple’s Other 2 Children Were Found Safe Following an Amber Alert
St. Louis Police issued a Statewide Amber Alert while Crockett remained at large with his 2-year-old and 3-year-old sons. The children were found hours later, safe at a family member’s home in Bellefontaine Neighbors, a St. Louis County suburb. The vehicle, a 2014 Hyundai Sonata, was recovered in Ferguson, Missouri, but there was still no sign of Crockett.
Crockett and his wife have three other children together. They were found safe at a daycare as the nightmare unfolded, and police took them into custody where they were expected to be released to family members.
3. He Has a Lengthy Criminal History, Including Drug & Gun Convictions
Dotson told reporters at a news conference Tuesday that Crockett has a lengthy criminal history spanning over 15 years. Online records show he was first arrested in 2001, and subsequently charged with felony tampering. Crockett was arrested again in 2003, and three years later he pleaded guilty to felony burglary, property damage and third-degree assault charges.
Crockett was arrested in 2010 and pleaded guilty to felony drug and weapons charges. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison, but was released after serving only six and a half months, according to fox2now.com.
The Department of Corrections issued a warrant for Crockett’s arrest in 2013, but it’s unclear why the still-active warrant was issued.
4. Crockett Suffered From Suicidal & Homicidal Thoughts in the Past, Police Say
Police Chief Dotson told reporters Crockett has threatened suicide and violence against his family in the past.
At the press conference, Dotson stated, “In interviews with the mother she’s talked about suicidal and homicidal threats the suspect has made towards her and towards their family. This is a very serious situation. Anybody in the community, anybody in the public that has info on the whereabouts of the children or can help us locate this car and take the suspect into custody…it’s very important for us right now.”
Crockett’s mother pleaded to her son on KMOV:
You need to turn yourself in. Talk to your attorney and come in ASAP. You have to set the record straight.
We know you love your kids and you would never hurt them, so we know this was a horrible accident. You have to come in, if nothing else, you have to come in for your other kids.
5. He Was Considered Armed & Dangerous
Crockett is a convicted felon and police warned that he was to be considered armed and dangerous. He is facing charges including first-degree murder, domestic assault, and armed criminal action.
Police are asking anyone with information regarding this case to call the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department at 314-231-1212. You can also report tips anonymously through CrimeStoppers website or by calling them at 1-866-371-8477.