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15-year-old charged in 3 Birmingham murders, suspected in 4th

November 18, 2015

A 15-year-old boy is in custody charged in three homicides, and suspected in a fourth, police said today.

The juvenile's name has not been released because of his age. He is charged in the Oct. 23 slayings of Kenneth Davidson and Shundria Peoples, and in the Nov. 14 killing of Tramone Mitchell. Investigators are also looking into the possibility he is responsible for another killing in the city.

"It is a sad day when a 15-year-old commits this level of violence at such a young age,'' said Birmingham police spokesman Lt. Sean Edwards. "He has definitely distinguished himself as a killer."

The bodies of Davidson, 34, and Peoples, 26, were discovered about 3:30 a.m. on that Friday morning. The Birmingham Police Department's ShotSpotter system, which detects shots and triangulates gunfire, alerted police to the shooting. When officers arrived on the scene at Woodward Park, they found the pair in the front seat of the Ford Taurus, which was still running.

The victims were shot multiple times in their chests. Medics pronounced them dead on the scene at 4 a.m. Davidson was from Bessemer; Peoples from Birmingham.

In the second case – which just happened over the weekend - Mitchell was one of two men found shot inside a green 2006 BMW just before 6:30 p.m. Saturday outside an apartment complex near the intersection of Cotton Avenue Southwest and 13th Street.

Mitchell, a rapper also known as "Lil Mone," was found in the driver's seat with gunshot wounds to the face and the shoulder. He was pronounced dead on the scene. His passenger, whose name hasn't been released, was shot in the groin area and taken to UAB Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Edwards said the surviving victim told investigators two men called him earlier about buying some marijuana. He set up the meeting between Mitchell and the two men. Once Mitchell arrived on the scene, the men opened fire and fled the scene.

In both cases, he said, detectives were able to locate key witnesses who were able to identify the teen as the shooter. "One of the things that brought this case to the forefront is that we had witnesses bold enough and courageous enough to identify this suspect,'' Edwards said. "The reality is we need people speaking up. Those days of (no) snitching are gone."

If the community is tired of such violence, he said, stepping up and identifying criminals to police is the best way to stop it. "Swift justice really sends a message that this type of behavior and criminal activity will not be tolerated."

Because the suspect is a juvenile, Edwards said, the facts and circumstances surrounding the case are confidential by law because they are being handled in Family Court. It will be up to the courts to determined whether he will be charged as an adult. In Family Court, he is charged as being a juvenile delinquent. Should the cases end up in adult court, the charges would be capital murder.

"A 15-year-old committing this level of violence is a sad, sad thing,'' Edwards said. "This 15-year-old actually took these adults' lives as if he was swatting a mosquito. That's a problem."

Birmingham police Chief A.C. Roper said these cases exemplify the challenges faced as a community. "These homicides clearly showed a total disregard for human life and it's so sad that we're now arresting juveniles for the most heinous crimes,'' Roper said. "We knew we would solve these cases but it's especially troubling that our suspects are getting younger."