Cops say man arrested in 7-year-old’s slaying tied to another homicide

Credit: Clayton County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Clayton County Sheriff's Office

A man arrested in connection with the shooting death of a 7-year-old boy has now been linked to another homicide, authorities announced Thursday.

Darnell Hansa Howard, 28, was arrested Wednesday on charges of aggravated assault and violation of probation for his alleged role in the shooting that killed the child earlier this month.

RELATED: Man sought in Clayton County shooting that left 7-year-old boy dead

After Howard was taken into custody, investigators obtained evidence that connected him to another shooting in the Conley area in 2019, according to the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office.

He now faces additional charges of murder and aggravated assault in an Oct. 20 homicide. Roman Christopher Baldwin, 41, was found shot outside a Jewell Terrace Drive home and later died at a hospital, Clayton police said in a news release.

A police spokeswoman said Howard was identified as a person of interest during an initial investigation but was not considered a suspect until Wednesday.

“We are currently investigating other violent crimes involving Mr. Howard,” spokeswoman Sgt. Julia Isaac said in a news release. “The investigation is ongoing at this time that could result in more charges.”

Murder suspect of Clayton County Captured!!

Posted by Clayton County Police Department on Thursday, April 23, 2020

Howard has not been accused of killing the 7-year-old boy, who died April 11 after being hit by a stray bullet while inside his Lamont Avenue home. The child’s name was not released by authorities.

According to the sheriff’s office, the shooting was the result of a dispute among suspected drug dealers and gang members.

Investigators believe Howard’s 18-year-old brother was the intended target of the gunfire. Neither Howard nor his brother were related to the 7-year-old, who had nothing to do with the dispute, police said.

MORE: 7-year-old killed by stray bullet in Clayton County; 18-year-old wounded

Police are still looking for several others believed to be involved in the shooting who were traveling in a white sedan. Additional arrests are expected, Sheriff Victor Hill said in a statement Thursday.

“We haven’t even warmed up yet,” Hill said. “Every drug dealer, gang-banger, pimp, prostitute, or any other criminal we can find in this area will continue to feel the wrath until someone tells us who killed this child.”

No other suspects were publicly identified.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Clayton County Sheriff's Office at 770-477-4479. A cash reward may be available for tipsters who call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477, and information may be submitted anonymously on the sheriff's office tip line.

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