Birmingham Police have arrested and charged a 17-year-old in the shooting death of 15-year-old Jarmaine Walton. The shooting happened March 17 at Railroad Park.
Justin Jones of Birmingham was taken into custody around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday at his job in Homewood and has been charged with murder as an adult. Jones is being held at the Birmingham City Jail on a $200,000 bond.
Police say that Jones is believed to be the only shooter in the case. Police have not released many additional details about the investigation. Police Chief A.C. Roper did say that good detective work and tips from the community led to Tuesday's arrest.
"We have been extremely cautious in protecting the inner working of the investigation so even today they assured me, 'Chief, we'd rather not get into particulars of the case. Let that play out in the justice system,'" Roper said.
The crime garnered a lot of attention, in part because it happened when thousands of people were enjoying Railroad Park on a Sunday evening.
Walton was shot in the head near the jungle gym area around 7:20 p.m. March 17. He died early the next morning at the hospital. Witnesses said at the time that the park was crowded but calm in the hours leading up to the shooting.
However, police say it was difficult to get witnesses to come forward with information.
In the days following his death, Walton's family attended a stop the violence vigil at the park to ask any witnesses to come forward and to also ask youths to turn away from violence. A local lawyer, lounge and Crime Stoppers contributed to a reward for information leading to an arrest. At one time, that reward topped $10,000, which police say helped convince witnesses to come forward.
Mayor William Bell says this arrest should send a strong message, especially to teenagers.
"You cannot fire a gun and kill someone and expect to get away with it. It may take an hour, day, week, month, year but sooner or later you'llbe brought to justice," he said.
The family of Jarmaine Walton issued the following statement on Monday, April 30 in response to the arrest:
We would like to send a warm thank to Detective Jonathan Ross, the entire Birmingham Police Department, the community and the news media for helping to bring closure to the family of Jarmaine Walton.
Although this is welcome news that Jarmaine's killer has been brought to justice -- it's still a sad day in Birmingham. Our family will never get Jarmaine back but another family will lose their love one to the criminal justice system. We ask that you keep our family in your prayers and respect our privacy at this time.
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