Atlanta police release photos of man accused of killing 7-year-old girl

Credit: Atlanta Police Department

Credit: Atlanta Police Department

A man charged with murder in the death of a 7-year-old girl remained on the run Thursday, according to Atlanta police. But investigators hope photos of the suspect will help lead to his capture.

Deshon Collins, 23, is accused in the Aug. 27 shooting that killed Ava Phillips, police said. Investigators have said an argument broke out at a family gathering at the Camden Vantage Apartments, situated between the northeast Atlanta neighborhoods of the Old Fourth Ward and Sweet Auburn. Shots were fired, and police were called to the Jackson Street complex around 10:15 p.m.

When officers arrived, they found the little girl with a gunshot wound to the head. She died from her injuries.

ExploreWoman arrested in 7-year-old’s fatal shooting is the girl’s mother

Two days later, investigators had obtained arrest warrants for Collins and Phillips’ mother, 44-year-old Kameka Springfield.

Springfield was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. She remained Thursday in the Fulton County jail on $30,000 bond, booking records showed.

Collins faces charges of murder, cruelty towards children, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

On Aug. 30, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Collins in a separate case from 2020, court records showed. In that case, he was indicted on two counts each of criminal damage to property, possession of a firearm during the commission of certain felonies and reckless conduct.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

The funeral for Ava was held Tuesday in Stone Mountain, according to her online obituary.

“Thank you for the outpouring of LOVE SUPPORT and ENCOURAGING WORDS,” her father, Jonathan Phillips, posted Thursday on a GoFundMe page. “We have a long road ahead of us and will always appreciate everyone for the support that has been shown to our family during this time. Thanks.”

On Thursday, Atlanta police released two different mug shots of Collins while asking the public for help finding him.

Anyone with information on Collins’ whereabouts or the case is asked to submit a tip to the Crime Stoppers Atlanta tip line by calling 404-577-TIPS (8477), visiting www.crimestoppersatlanta.org or texting CSA and the tip to CRIMES (274637). Tipsters can remain anonymous and still be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.