Diata Crockett, a 34-year-old man from St. Louis, Missouri, turned himself into his lawyer on Wednesday after an intense manhunt that began when Crockett shot and fatally wounded his 8-month-old son Tuesday afternoon.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said during a press conference on Tuesday that after an argument, Diata Crockett forced his unnamed wife and three of their six children — Blase Crockett, 3; Ryker Crockett, 2; and Reign Crockett, 8 months — into a rental car at gunpoint. During Dotson’s probable cause statement, he said that during the car ride, Crockett’s wife told him she wanted a divorce, causing Crockett to lash out and hit her with a semi-automatic handgun. Then, while telling his wife that he “should have killed her yesterday and that he was going to kill her and himself,” he drove into a secluded area.
We are still searching for suspect Diata Crockett. Call 911 w/ any info on whereabouts of Blaze & Ryker Crockett. pic.twitter.com/c1fWWGYcrm
— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) May 24, 2016
At some point, Crockett’s wife found a chance to escape, and with 8-month-old baby Reign in her hands, she managed to get out of the car. She had only made it a few steps, however, when Diata Crockett fired. Dotson believes the bullet was meant for his wife, but ended up hitting and fatally wounding the baby instead. With the two other children in the car and an injured baby in her hands, Crockett’s wife flagged down a passing motorist and begged them to bring her to the nearest hospital.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Dotson says that while in the car en route to the hospital, Crockett’s wife dialed 911, and during the 11-minute conversation with the emergency operator, both the mother of the injured baby and the Good Samaritan who picked her up can be heard can be heard saying that Crockett was following them.
“He’s trying to run us off the road. He’s trying to cause an accident. He’s following us.”
They reached the hospital, and Diata Crockett fled with the two other children in the car. On Tuesday afternoon at Christian Hospital in St. Louis county, 8-month-old Reign Crockett was pronounced dead.
St. Louis police issued a statewide Amber Alert for Blase and Ryker, but thankfully, the two children were found hours later, safe and sound at a family member’s home in Bellefontaine Neighbors, a suburb of St. Louis county. Later still, while a manhunt was in full force, the black rental car that Diata Crockett had been driving was found at an apartment complex in Ferguson, Missouri — the same Canfield Green apartment complex where Michael Brown was killed in a police shooting in 2014.
— Cory Stark (@CoryStarkKMOV) May 25, 2016
St. Louis police officers continued to search for Crockett throughout the night, and his mother, Casetta Crockett, spoke with a CBS affiliate, according to the New York Daily News, begging her son to turn himself in.
“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.”
Crockett’s three other children who were not in the car during the fatal shooting were found safe at a daycare Tuesday afternoon. Police took them into custody, where they will be released to family members.
On Wednesday morning, Diata Crockett turned himself in to his attorney, Scott Rosenblum, who said that Crockett’s family had reached out to him and he had “made arrangements for a safe surrender for everybody.”
Following his surrender, police took Diata Crockett into custody, and prosecutors have charged him with numerous counts, including murder, armed criminal action, domestic assault, endangering a child, unlawful possession, and unlawful use of a weapon.
[Image via St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department]