A Texas woman who said her 3-year-old son was killed in a road-rage shooting has been arrested on a child endangerment charge, police said Thursday.
Lacravivonne Washington, 26, the mother of 3-year-old Jalexus Washington, was arrested Wednesday and was taken to Dallas police headquarters to be interviewed about her son's death.
"When she was here, she declined to talk to our detectives, further we placed her into custody,” said Kristin Lowman, Asst. Director of the Dallas Police Department's Public Information Office.
Washington was taken to the Dallas County Jail for outstanding warrants out of Carrollton related to a speeding ticket and failure to use a child safety seat. Dallas police said she was also charged with tampering with physical evidence and endangering a child related to her son's death.
Investigators determined that Washington concealed a handgun during the investigation. The weapon is owned by Washington.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by NBC 5, Washington told police that she was involved in a road rage incident on Monday as she left a business with her three children, 2-year-old Layla Washington, 4-year-old Janiyah Washington and Jalexus, all of whom were unrestrained in her car.
U.S. & World
Police said they left a donut shop around 9:38 a.m., about 20 minutes before the shooting.
She said the driver followed her and that she pulled into a neighborhood to try to lose the person. She said she parked next to Forest Meadows Park in the 9100 block of Arbor Park Dr. and that as she was getting her children out of the car, the driver returned and shot at them, striking her son. She said she then drove him to a nearby hospital, Medical City Dallas.
Police said Washington signed a consent form at the hospital allowing police to search her vehicle for evidence. They said she stated there were no firearms in the vehicle, but while searching the vehicle for evidence of the road rage incident, police found a handgun in the glove compartment.
Investigators later learned the gun was one of two that had been purchased on March 4 by Washington. The second gun was not found in the car or in a search of her home, police said. It was later determined to be in possession of her husband.
During a subsequent videotaped interview at the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center, police said Washington waived her Miranda rights and gave a voluntary statement where she said during the road rage incident she reached for her handgun in the glove compartment twice but never pulled it out. She said during this time her children were freely moving from the front to the back seats and that she then heard two gunshots, the first of which she said sounded far away.
Police said the investigation into the road rage story stalled after officers were unable to locate a crime scene. According to the arresting document, police said they found no evidence of a road rage incident.
"What’s important to us right now and what we’re confident in is that we have detectives that are working around the clock to answer a lot of questions to find out who is responsible, the person or persons responsible for the death of this child and ultimately bring justice for the baby," said Lowman.
Additionally, according to the boy's autopsy referenced in the affidavit, there was unburned gunpowder residue on the boy's body, indicating the gunshot that killed him came from close proximity and ruling out his being shot by someone in a passing vehicle.
The charge of endangering a child was added, police said, because a weapon was accessible to her children who were unrestrained in the vehicle. Police have not released any additional information about how the boy was shot.
Washington is currently in the Dallas County Jail on a bond of $25,000. It's not clear if she's obtained an attorney.
Washington's husband, Jalexus Washington Sr., was also arrested on March 30 for outstanding traffic warrants and for unlawfully carrying a weapon. Police said he waived his rights and gave a statement, saying he was at work when his son was shot and that he was unaware of the location of his wife's gun but that it would have been in her care. The gun he was carrying, police said, was the second one purchased by his wife on March 4.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has had past involvement with the family, agency spokeswoman Tiffani Butler told NBC 5, though further details weren't available due to state confidentiality laws. DFPS is investigating the fatality alongside Dallas Police, she said.
Police are asking for anyone with information regarding this investigation to contact Homicide Detective David Grubbs, #9159, at 214-671-3675 or by email at email@example.com. Please reference case number 053933-2022.