UPDATE: Vigil held for slain 2-year-old - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Vigil held for slain 2-year-old

Posted: Updated:

The community came together Thursday night to remember a little boy, his life cut short by a stray bullet at just two-years-old.   Police believe two-year-old John Swoveland, Jr. was shot by a stray bullet on Campeau Street.

Thursday his relative, Tracy Lazo, led the community in prayer in the same spot where he was shot.  She said the family is in disbelief over the toddler's death.  "The senselessness...somebody to think they have the right to take a child from a family that again that's something you just don't get over."

In the crowd the boy's parents were comforted by others.  Lazo said they are grateful for the outpouring of support, calling it "heartfelt."

As the family comes together to remember Swoveland, or as they call him "Baby John," they're also hoping someone will come forward to help solve the case.  "I pray that they bring whoever it was to justice.  And I pray that people will speak up and ya know bring whoever did this into custody," said Lazo.

The St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office says the 2-year-old was killed by a stray bullet.  Based on their investigation, Metro Homicide (CMHU) says they believe two rival groups near Arthur and Campeau Streets got into an argument that turned to gun fire.  While one of the groups ran west to escape the other, CMHU believes a stray bullet hit and killed 2-year-old John Swoveland Jr.  An autopsy will be conducted at 1:00 p.m.

Lt. David Wells with CMHU said they believe the boy was playing in the front yard with an older sibling when he was shot.  He said even though it's the nature of the job, it's still tough investigating such a young child's death.  "Makes me want to throw up, it makes anybody want to throw up. and now I've got a guy, one of my investigators at the hospital that's trying to hold it together because he's got to stand there and deal with this."

Metro is interviewing a number of witnesses, including neighbors and the boy's parents.  Family members we spoke to on the scene said the little boy's mom is 23-year-old Ashley Kinder.  The family said she's pregnant and is due very soon.  They said the dad is John Swoveland.  They said he was put in a cop car and taken in for an interview, but at this time police say there are no suspects.

Family said little John Swoveland, Jr was a very sweet boy and it's tough to put into words how they feel right now.  "He's young, he had his whole life to live and now somebody just took that from him," said Travis Debaillie, the boy's uncle.

A man identifying himself as the dad, John Swoveland, called our newsroom Wednesday night.  He told us he was in the back of a police car.  He was very upset and said he was with his son and daughter at the home on Campeau Street when his son was shot.  "I didn't see nothing.  I was, just went inside to get, to get my girlfriend's attention for her to come outside and play with us and I, my hand on the door still my little girl comes inside and says someone just drove by and shot my son, and I walked outside and my son's all white and he's just laying on the ground all messed up."

Right after that he said he had to hang up because he was being brought inside.  He later called again saying he was in a room waiting for police to ask him questions.

This is a developing story.  FOX28 will bring you updates as they become available.

Powered by WorldNow

Fox 28

58096 County Road 7, South
Elkhart, IN 46517

Switchboard: 574.679.9758
News Phone: 574.679.4545
Station Fax: 574.294.1267
Email: fox28news@fox28.com

All content ©Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSJV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Heather Stewart at (574) 343-5310. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.