Suspect arrested in Lakeland toddler’s death after weeks on the run: officials

LAKELAND, Fla., (WFLA) — Authorities said Demarius Wilson played a part in a shooting that cost a 3-year-old Lakeland boy his life.

After weeks on the run, officials said Wilson was arrested in Plant City on Monday night.

“This is not going to bring J.D. back but at least it’s giving us a little relief,” said Pilar Rivera, the toddler’s grandmother.

Jaquez, “JD”, Norton was killed in a shooting at an apartment complex in March. His family has been trying to pick up the pieces since his murder, and want those charged to face the death penalty.

“Even though my daughter was screaming, ‘Please, my kids are here,’ and you still start shooting to a baby, they deserve the worst,” Rivera said.

(Family handout)
(Family handout)

Lakeland police said Wilson was arrested after a traffic stop in Plant City.

“The vehicle did not stop. I think there was a short pursuit or some sort of a small pursuit that happened afterwards and they were able to get the vehicle stopped.  I believe he was located in the back of the vehicle, actually with a rifle,” said Lakeland Police Chief Sam Taylor.

Now both men who were wanted in connection to the shooting are in custody.

“It’s like, I can’t even explain, like I’m so happy and I am so grateful with God,” Rivera said.

Kevarius Green faces a first-degree murder charge, and remains in the Polk County jail, where he’s being held without bond.

Wilson is currently at the Orient Road Jail in Hillsborough County.

“We have families too. We’re not robots, and we have families too, and it affects us when we see a little 3-year-old that’s tragically killed,” said Chief Taylor.

Chief Taylor said they have dedicated a lot of resources to get justice for J.D.’s family.

“I just want them to know that we took this personally. As well, I know that they’re living this tragedy and will never get little J.D. back, but our detectives have never, ever stopped trying to look for these guys,” said Chief Taylor.

J.D.’s family said his mother is visiting him at the cemetery to deliver the news of Wilson’s arrest.

“Today, seeing her crying, it made me so excited because it was happiness, it was like finally,” Rivera said.

Chief Taylor said there may be additional charges coming for Wilson. They are still waiting on some lab work to come back.

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