ST. LOUIS — A suspect has been charged in the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl and her father. The shooting happened back in January in the Central West End and led to $40,000 in rewards for information about who did it. New court documents released Thursday indicate the suspect and victim knew each other.
Javonn Javontay Nettles, 28, was charged Thursday with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action.
On Jan. 24, St. Louis police officers responded to the 4000 block of Laclede Avenue. They arrived to find a man and a little girl with gunshot wounds inside a parked car. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. The girl was rushed to a hospital where she died a short time later.
The man was identified as 26-year-old Darrion Rankin-Fleming and 7-year-old Dmyah Fleming was his daughter.
On Thursday, the St. Louis police department announced officers arrested Nettles and turned the case over to the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office with a request for charges.
Court documents released after the charges were filed indicate Nettles’ fingerprint was found on a rear passenger door of Rankin-Fleming’s car. Rankin-Fleming and Dmyah had been shot through open passenger side doors of the car, investigators reported.
Police said they also looked through Rankin-Fleming’s cell phone and found he had been in touch with Nettles right before the murder and that they planned to meet up that night.
"A message from the defendant to the victim indicated that the defendant was trying to locate the victim," a probable cause statement reads, adding that calls between the two continued up until moments before the shooting.
“There are no communications from the defendant to the victim after the time of the murder,” the statement reads.
Nettles told police he didn't see Rankin-Fleming the night he died.
The double shooting of a father and his little girl prompted a $10,000 reward for information from the St. Louis office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). CrimeStoppers, the City of St. Louis and the Central West End NSI also offered a reward of $30,000.
In the days after the deadly shooting, family members told 5 On Your Side Rankin-Fleming had just stopped at his house in the Central West End that Saturday night to get a PlayStation 5 he had bought his daughter. He was about to bring her back to her mother’s house – but they never made it.
“We don’t even think they made it in the house because the PS5 and all that stuff was still in the house,” said Selena Johns, Dmyah’s great aunt.
The family pleaded for the person or persons who pulled the trigger to come forward.
“He might be hiding now, but God sees where he’s at, and trust me, He’s trailing him,” Johns said. “I hope you have a heart and turn yourself in, but if not, God will bring justice.”
CUT SHORT IN ST. LOUIS
"CUT SHORT: Unsolved Killings of St. Louis Children" is an initiative of KSDK 5 On Your Side and its community outreach program, "Project 5," to raise awareness of the unchecked violence against children in the City of St. Louis from the summer of 2019 to present.
We're dedicated to telling their stories, following the criminal investigations and shining a light on the reasons for gun violence in our city. We won't let up.
Please join us in this important campaign seeking justice for our youth by sharing these stories about their young lives cut short, reaching out to elected officials and supporting the worthy organizations in St. Louis working to make our city's neighborhoods safer places to raise families.