A 4-year-old boy was killed just one hour into the new year after he was shot inside a Texas residence, according to officials.
Messiah Taplin of Corsicana was identified as the victim in Friday morning's shooting, which unfolded in Arlington, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the Arlington Police Department (APD) said officers responded to a report of gunshots in the 700 block of Washington Drive at an apartment complex at 12:36 a.m.
When officers arrived at the scene, they "noticed a blood trail" leading to an unlocked residence, according to the press release. As they made their way into the home, authorities said they found no people inside and began to investigate.
As they were investigating, APD officers spotted a vehicle driving into the parking lot that matched the description of one that a witness said left the apartment after the shooting, according to the press release.
The Grand Prairie Police Department later notified investigators that a 4-year-old boy had been transported to a local hospital with a gunshot wound and later died of his injuries.
An autopsy performed by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner confirmed that the boy, later identified as Taplin, died at Baylor Scott & White Emergency Hospital at 1:15 a.m. from a gunshot wound to the head.
Details surrounding the fatal incident remain unclear, including who was behind the shooting, where Taplin was shot and why.
"Detectives believe that the child was shot while inside the apartment on Washington Drive," the APD's statement reads. "Investigators are actively working this scene to determine exactly what happened and trying to ascertain if the shooting occurred outside of the apartment or inside the location."
According to officials, persons of interest have been detained and they are continuing to investigate.
In response to the tragedy, many Facebook users expressed their heartbreak in the comments section of APD's statement, calling the incident "so sad and senseless."
"What a way to start 2021… so sad… so senseless," wrote one user, while another commented, "Absolutely unnecessary and senseless. I hope you all find the culprits and they get the fullest extent of the law."
"An innocent life, just senselessly gone, for no apparent reason," added another person. "Life was only just beginning, so sad."
Anyone with information is asked to contact APD Detective Charles Cisneros at 817-575-3169. Those wishing to remain anonymous can also provide information by contacting Tarrant County Crime Stoppers at 817-469-TIPS.
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