Three men have been arrested in two separate shootings in Philadelphia last weekend that left a 2-year-old girl dead and an 11-month-old child critically wounded, police said. Freddie Perez and Tayvon Thomas were arrested in the death of Nikolette Rivera, Philadelphia police said. The toddler was killed Sunday when someone fired a 7.62 mm rifle into a home in Kensington, in northern Philadelphia, hitting her in the back of the head. She died at the scene. Francisco Ortiz was arrested Thursday in the shooting of the 11-month-old child, who remains in “very, very bad condition,” said Philadelphia police Capt. Nicholas Brown. The baby was shot four times while sitting in a vehicle Saturday in the city’s Hunting Park area around 8 p.m., Brown said. The baby was hit once in the head, once in the neck and twice in the buttocks with rounds from a 9 mm gun, he said.
Police arrested Perez Tuesday in Chester, Pennsylvania, and Thomas was arrested Thursday in Philadelphia. Both were charged with murder, nine counts of attempted murder, criminal conspiracy, and related offenses, police said. Perez had 17 previous arrests, including 11 related to narcotics, Philadelphia police Capt. Jason Smith said. Thomas had nine prior arrests, according to Smith. Ortiz was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and related offenses, police said.
Nikolette’s mother, who was holding the 2-year-old when she was hit, was shot in the arm and a bullet grazed her head, police said after the shootings. A man who had been in the house to clean carpets was shot in the abdomen. Three other small children and the girl’s grandmother were also in the house at the time.The motivation for both shootings appears to be to disputes over territory between rival drug dealers, according to police.