Father charged in shootout that killed his two-year-old son


The father of the two-year-old shot in a drive-by shooting has been charged with a count of dangerous weapons-drive-by shooting and felon in possession of a handgun.

Melvonte Peterson, 25, of Brooklyn Center, was charged by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office on a warrant and was arrested Friday morning. He is expected to make his first court appearance Friday afternoon.

Peterson drove his blue-gray minivan to North Memorial Medical Center about 11:30 a.m. and said his son and daughter were inside and had been shot. The two-year-old boy, Le’Vonte Jones, died a short time later at the hospital.

According to the criminal complaint, there were two bullet holes in the van, but also on the driver’s side floor was a discharged cartridge casings from a .45 caliber gun. A short time before Peterson arrived at North Memorial, there was a shooting between two cars at Penn and Lowry Avenues North.

Video showed a black Chevy Impala at the intersection when Peterson pulled up next to it in his van, the complaint states.  At the same time, the police department’s Shot Spotter recorded two gun shots. Seconds later, it recorded nine more shots as the van jumped the curb and turned onto Penn Avenue. The Impala continued on Lowry Avenue.

Police found several discharged cartridge casings from a .45 caliber gun in the street along the path taken by Peterson’s van. Records from his social media accounts showed that Peterson traded one gun for a .45 caliber handgun, according to the complaint.

Peterson was convicted in 2012 and again in 2014 of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance and is prohibited from possessing any gun or ammunition. Police still are trying to determine who fired the first shots from the car which killed Le’Vonte Jones.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)