Los Angeles County prosecutors declined Wednesday to immediately file any charges against a 23-year-old man arrested in connection with the shooting death of a year-old girl in Compton, asking instead that the sheriff’s department conduct more investigation into the killing.
As a result, Ray Howard Patterson was released from jail.
Patterson had been held without bail since his arrest around 2:30 p.m. Monday near Bullis Road and Rosecrans Avenue in Compton. Sheriff’s officials said tonight the arrest “was based on probable cause to believe he was involved” in the Feb. 9 shooting death of Autumn Johnson.
As a result of the District Attorney’s Office decision not to file charges, “the arrestee is being released from custody,” sheriff’s officials said. “The extensive homicide investigation is continuing, which includes identifying all principals and accessories involved.”
Patterson was released around 6 p.m., according to jail records.
Autumn Johnson was asleep in a crib around 7 p.m. Feb. 9 when the driver of a blue four-door Chevrolet Impala stopped in front of the converted garage where her family lived in the 300 block of North Holly Avenue, according to the sheriff’s department. A man got out and opened fire, and the baby was shot in the face.
Sheriff’s deputies rushed her to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, but doctors were unable to save the infant.
Investigators said there were two men in the car, which was last seen being driven south on Holly Avenue. They believe the shooting was gang-related and that the infant’s father was likely the target of the shooting. The search is continuing for the driver of the car.
News of Patterson’s arrest came just hours after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors formalized a $25,000 reward for information leading to the girl’s killers. The city of Compton and the FBI have also posted $25,000 rewards each, for a total reward of $75,000.
“The senseless and tragic death of baby Autumn has left her family and community devastated,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said.
Autumn’s parents are expecting their second child. A funeral service for Autumn was held on Saturday.
Ridley-Thomas asked anyone with more information about the attack to call sheriff’s homicide Detectives Jonas Shipe or Todd Anderson at (323) 890- 5500 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.
Patterson has multiple convictions dating from 2012, according to court records cited by the Los Angeles Times. In September 2013, he pleaded no contest to resisting an officer and was sentenced to 365 days in jail and three years of formal probation.
In October 2014, he pleaded no contest to grand theft and was sentenced to 16 months in custody, to be served in county jail. Currently, Patterson is facing burglary and larceny charges stemming from a May 26, 2015, incident, according to court records.
— City News Service
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