OMAHA, Neb. — A man wanted in connection with the shooting death of a toddler in suburban Kansas City was arrested in Omaha on Sunday and publicly identified on Monday.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office identified the man as 23-year-old Ashton Cleveland in a press release.
Police said the child died after a gun that the 2-year-old was handling discharged Friday afternoon in Independence, Missouri. Cleveland fled after police went to the home to confront him about the incident because they were initially told that the child was wounded by a bullet from a drive-by shooting earlier that day.
The child died of their injuries after being transported to a hospital local to the incident.
Before Cleveland escaped Missouri to Nebraska, he also fled from a car accident, the Kansas City Star reported.
Officers with the Omaha Police Department and the DCSO followed up on a tip regarding Cleveland's potential whereabouts and conducted surveillance near 103rd and Ida Street in Omaha, where he was observed while attempting to break into a pickup truck in the parking lot of a bar.
The DCSO said Cleveland implicated himself in the shooting incident of the child on Dec. 24 as well as a separate shooting that is currently under investigation in Missouri.
This means that the shooting occurred on Christmas Eve; Cleveland allegedly fled to avoid arrest that day and, then spent Christmas Day — his birthday, as indicated by the DCSO — on the run in Nebraska, and arrested the following day.
Cleveland was booked into the Douglas County Department of Corrections on local charges of theft of $5,000 or more and criminal mischief of $1,500 to $4,999. Investigators will continue to work with law enforcement agencies in Missouri.