ALBANY — Eight Albany residents have been charged with weapons possession in the wake of a Thursday shooting incident in which a stray bullet struck a sleeping 3-year-old, Albany police said Friday morning.
Police released the names of four people, but said they had also arrested a 15-year-old and three 16-year-olds whose names they did not release because of their ages. The arrests followed execution of a search warrant on a Third Avenue address at which they said two handguns and a sawed-off rifle were found.
Police said they received the initial reports of shots fired in the area of Third Avenue and Teunis Street at about 1:15 p.m., and shortly afterward received a call about the boy being wounded in the arm at a nearby daycare center.
Upon arrival, officers were directed to a home on Third Avenue west of Elizabeth Street, which a group of people had been seen entering after the shots were fired, police said. Eight people were taken into custody, and a .45-caliber handgun, .38-caliber revolver and saw-off .22-caliber rifle were found. Police said the .45-caliber handgun has been reported stolen on Oct. 10, 2018, in Danville, Virginia.
Those arrested whose names were released were Daron Simmons, 17; Eric Kersey, 17; Michael Thompson, 19, and Kayontee Bartee, 21. All were identified as Albany residents.
All eight suspects face charges of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Police said there have been no arrests in connection with the actual shooting incident, and the investigation continues.
The 3-year-old boy was asleep at an Albany daycare facility when he was struck and wounded, police said. The bullet went through an outside wall and a closet before hitting him. The boy was taken to Albany Medical Center for treatment of what police said were non-life-threatening injuries.
On Friday, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is investigating the incident with Albany police, said it and the Capital Region Crime Stoppers program have offered a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for firing the shots.
Anyone with information about the shooting incident should contact the Capital Region Crime Stoppers program at 1-(833) ALB-TIPS (833-252-8477), online at www.capitalregioncrimestoppers.com or by downloading the free P3 Tips mobile. All tips to Capital Region Crime Stoppers are strictly confidential.
Police on Thursday said they believe at least two young men were walking along Third, toward Teunis, when a car pulled up behind them, and at least two masked men got out and started firing at their intended victims.
An estimated eight or nine shots were fired, Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins told reporters at a news conference near the scene broadcast on Facebook Live by Gazette newsgathering partner CBS6.
"This is very disturbing," Hawkins told reporters from the scene. "We had young men who were brazenly firing up a residential street in broad daylight."
The chief then referenced other children in the area as he spoke.
"These men had no regard whatsoever for life in this area. It's very, very disturbing. I'm outraged. The staff is outraged. We need the people in this community to share that outrage and I'm sure they do."