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‘He Put a Pillow Over Her Head and Shot Her’: Two Young Children Shot to Death Following Hostage Situation in Mississippi Apartment; Suspect Arrested

Averi Jones (WREG screen shot)

Averi Jones (WREG screen shot)

A 25-year-old man in Mississippi has been arrested for allegedly shooting and killing two young children, then holding a third child at gunpoint. Marquez Griffin was taken into custody on Monday following a standoff with sheriff’s deputies and charged with two counts of murder and two count of aggravated assault in the deaths of the two kids, identified as a 1-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy, authorities announced.

According to a press release from the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Office, an individual at approximately 2 a.m. on Monday called 911 and reported that a child had just been shot at the Summit Garden Apartments, a housing complex located in the 300 block of Coldwater River Road in Jonestown.

An off-duty sheriff’s deputy residing in Jonestown overheard the call for deputies go out over the radio and “immediately” responded to the scene, the office said. Upon arriving at the address, the off-duty deputy met up with several on-duty deputies, and the group made contact with the suspect, later identified as Griffin.

Deputies say that when they initially made contact with Griffin, he was “holding a child at gunpoint.”

Thankfully, deputies “were able to talk the subject into dropping his weapon and get the child to safety” before detaining Griffin and placing him under arrest. However, after taking Griffin into custody, authorities searched the residence and discovered the two young children, both of whom had sustained gunshot wounds prior to the arrival of law enforcement.

One of the victims was pronounced dead on the scene while the other victim was rushed to an emergency room at a nearby hospital. Unfortunately, the young victim was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the medical facility.

While authorities did not release any information about the victims other than their ages, it was the 1-year-old girl, who was identified by her family as Averi Jones, who was pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital, according to a report from Memphis, Tennessee CBS affiliate WREG-TV.

Deputies transported Griffin to the Coahoma County Adult Detention Center where he currently remains in holding.

According to authorities, Griffin was originally from the Coahoma County area. He had been living in the Arlington, Texas area for some time and only recently moved back to Mississippi.

Investigators have not released any information regarding a possible motive for the alleged murders.

Averi’s grandmother, Melrose Haile, reportedly spoke to WREG about her tragic loss and provided additional allegations about the child’s death

“All I know is my grandbaby Averi Jones is gone and I just want everyone to know that Averi Baby was a sweet baby. She didn’t deserve this. She didn’t deserve this. She didn’t deserve this at all,” Melrose Haile told the station. “Her mom told me she was asleep and he put a pillow over her head and shot her in her head.”

Haile also reportedly said that Griffin was friends with Averi’s mother and noted that there were several other children in the home at the time of the shooting.

“She told me they were friends and how could a friend do this to you?” Haile reportedly added.

[WKRN screen shot]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.