2-year-old caught in shooting remembered; father faces charges

Jones' casket was put onto a horsedrawn carrage
The casket of 2-year old Le'Vonte King Jason Jones was put onto the horse drawn carriage in front of Bethel Christian Fellowship church. Le'Vonte was killed in a drive-by shooting in Minneapolis last week. His father was arrested in connection with the shooting on the day of the son's celebration of life service.
Chris Juhn for MPR News

Updated: 6:45 p.m. | Posted 1:03 p.m.

Relatives paid last respects Friday to a 2-year-old killed in a drive-by shooting on the same day his father was charged in connection with the crime.

Le'Vonte King Jason Jones was shot last week while riding in a minivan driven by his father in north Minneapolis.

Clergy from across the Twin Cities came to Le'Vonte's funeral service.

"We're against this violence that continues to happen in this community," said Pastor Danny Givens, Le'Vonte's cousin.

Givens led the service. He called for more unity among leaders in the Twin Cities, pledging he'd do his best to work with everyone to help fight against violence. He asked for community support for all children, like the boy known as King.

"There is no such thing ... as other people's children," he said.

Le'Vonte's grandfather, Luther Jones, said a short prayer along with other family: "Lord, take care of my grandson please. Thank you very much."

Antonio Richardson read Jones' obituary during the service.

"King was a loving and protective big brother to his sisters," he said. "He enjoyed going to the park, swimming and playing with his cars. He also loved Paw Patrol, Monsters Inc. But most of all he loved his pacifier. May God's mercy shine upon him."

Jason Megard, King's uncle, read a poem asking people to understand justice and peace.

"So I say know justice, know peace," he said. "Can't plug our ears when a baby cries, can't see injustice and just close our eyes. When another suffers don't just walk away, gotta raise our voices, here's what we say, know justice, know peace."

The criminal complaint filed Friday says it is believed the driver of an Impala fired two shots on 25-year-old Melvonte Lee Peterson's van, hitting Le'Vonte in the chest and his 15-month old sister in the leg.

Peterson, of Brooklyn Center, allegedly fired on the car, the complaint says, which drove away.

Le'Vonte died from his wound at North Memorial Medical Center, which is a two-minute drive from the intersection of Penn and Lowry Avenues, where the shooting occurred.

Peterson was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and for drive-by shooting. Police are still looking for the person who fired the fatal shot. Givens asked for the public's help finding the shooter.

"With the arrest of Melvonte, it saddens my heart, I understand they have to do their job, but this man lost his son," Givens said, adding the family is just trying to support him at this time.

"This man is grieving the loss of a child," Givens said. "This is a 2-year-old baby. A 2-year-old."

Correction (July 15, 2016): An earlier version of this story was unclear on the details of the shooting that killed Le'Vonte Jones. This version has been updated.

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