New Year's reveler dancing with gun allegedly shoots, kills 4-year-old Texas boy: Police

The child was identified as Messiah Taplin by the local medical examiner.

January 1, 2021, 7:48 PM

A 4-year-old boy was killed in an Arlington, Texas, apartment in the first hour of the new year when police say he was apparently shot by a man dancing and celebrating with a firearm just after the clock struck midnight.

The boy, identified by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner as Messiah Taplin, was shot about 12:30 a.m. Friday and died just after 1 a.m. at a local hospital, police said.

Tim Ciesco, a spokesman for the Arlington Police Department, told ABC News the child was shot in the head. He said the New Year's reveler who allegedly discharged his gun has been arrested and jailed on suspicion of killing Messiah.

"We are currently seeking a manslaughter warrant against that individual," said Ciesco, adding that the suspect's name will not be released until a judge signs the warrant.

Police said the suspect was detained along with other "persons of interest" for questioning in the homicide investigation.

"Based on evidence gathered, and statements made by the individuals who were inside the apartment at the time, it appears one of the adult males in the apartment was dancing or celebrating with a firearm -- and it discharged, striking the 4-year-old boy in the head," Ciesco said.

Officers went to an apartment complex in the north part of the suburban Dallas city after a 911 caller reported hearing gunfire, the Arlington Police Department said in an earlier statement.

When officers arrived, they followed a trail of blood leading to an unlocked apartment, according to the statement.

PHOTO: A four-year-old was shot and later died at at an Arlington, Texas apartment complex early on New Year's day, Jan. 1 2021.
A four-year-old was shot and later died at at an Arlington, Texas apartment complex early on New Year's day, Jan. 1 2021.
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"Officers went inside and discovered a crime scene. No one was inside of the apartment at that time," the statement reads.

As officers were investigating the scene, a vehicle drove into the parking lot that matched a car spotted leaving the apartment complex shortly after the shooting, police said. Officers stopped the car and detained its occupants.

It was not immediately clear if the people inside the car were the "persons of interest" police are questioning.

Homicide detectives were later notified by police in Grand Prairie, about seven miles east of Arlington, that a 4-year-old boy was taken to a hospital in their city and died from an apparent gunshot wound, according to the statement.

The child's death was the second fatal shooting Arlington police responded to in the first hour of the New Year. At 12:25 a.m., officers received a call of shots fired in a residential neighborhood in east Arlington and discovered a woman suffering from an apparent gunshot wound on the back porch of a home, police said in a statement. The woman, whose name was not immediately released, was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Investigators do not believe this was self-inflicted and that someone shot the woman on the back porch," the police statement reads.

No arrest has been made in the shooting.

Authorities asked that anyone with information about either killing contact Arlington police investigators or the Tarrant County Crime Stoppers line.