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18-day manhunt ends with arrest after 4-year-old girl was shot in face

Leemarkese Deandelo Melson
Leemarkese Deandelo Melson

Credit: Georgia Department of Corrections / Troup County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Georgia Department of Corrections / Troup County Sheriff's Office

A LaGrange man is behind bars more than two weeks after authorities named him as a suspect in the accidental shooting of a 4-year-old girl.

Leemarkese Deangelo Melson, 28, was booked into the Troup County jail Friday, according to online records. LaGrange police obtained child cruelty arrest warrants for him following the May 18 shooting, which critically injured the child, AJC.com previously reported.

RELATED: Georgia man wanted after child gets gun, shoots 4-year-old girl in face

Melson, who was already wanted on probation violation charges, is accused of leaving a loaded handgun within reach of children at a home on Kelley Street, police said. A 6-year-old picked up the gun, began to play with it and accidentally shot the 4-year-old in the face.

Melson’s relationship to the children was not released.

The injured girl was dropped off at a convenience store on Whitesville Street in LaGrange that afternoon. Melson is accused of fleeing the scene and taking the weapon with him after the shooting.

The child was taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, where her condition was last described as critical. No updates have been released by police.

According to jail records, Melson was charged with second-degree child cruelty, tampering with evidence and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

No other details on his arrest were immediately available.

Melson spent a year in prison for burglary and aggravated assault, Georgia Department of Corrections records show. Before the shooting, he was already wanted on two probation violation charges and a count of failure to appear in court.

He remains in jail without bond.

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