Police announced on Tuesday that they arrested a suspect, 29-year-old Jovan Young, in the murder of 10-year-old Justin Wallace, who was fatally shot at his aunt's Far Rockaway home on Saturday.
Justin would have turned 11 on Tuesday; outside his family's house, "Happy Birthday" balloons were tied to the front stoop with candles on the ground.
His mother, Aretha Wallace, told the Daily News, "It’s very difficult, so it’s not something I’m gonna open to the public just yet. I’m trying to put on a good face for everyone."
Mayor Bill de Blasio had promised Justin's parents they would find their son's killer, and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said during an appearance on NY1 Wednesday that detectives "worked around the clock. I give them a lot of credit, they really took this personally."
"We're never going to bring that boy back," Shea added.
On Saturday night, just after 9:30 p.m., a gunman opened fire on 342 Beach 45 Street, hitting Justin in the torso and his 29-year-old male cousin in the shoulder. Justin died at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, while his cousin was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in stable condition. Police shared video of the suspect shortly after.
In addition to being charged with Justin's murder, police said that Young was charged with attempted murder of the 29-year-old cousin, assault, and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Young is awaiting arraignment.
A motive for the shooting is unclear, but Justice's father had suggested it was over a driveway parking spot. Shea acknowledged that the violence stemmed from a dispute over a shared driveway. "That's what really makes you shake your head here," he said on NY1. "People out enjoying themselves and over a minor occurrence like that, inconsequential really, and then you have somebody connected to one of the houses come back and perpetrate this act."
Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers asked the Queens District Attorney to "move with haste to ensure justice is fully served and this alleged murderer is no longer able to hurt any member of the public again," and called the arrest a "first step towards much deserved justice."
Shootings across the city are up 77% through May 30th over the same period last year.
With reporting by Andy Mai