Oklahoma City police arrested two men on Wednesday in connection with the December 2019 killing of a toddler.
Investigators think a gang feud led to the deadly shooting.
Riah Thomas, 2, was killed at her grandmother’s northwest Oklahoma City home.
One of the suspects was already in the Oklahoma County Detention Center for another murder. The second man was picked up by a police task force unit.
“As luck would have it, the arrests were made on the one year anniversary of the homicide,” said Master Sgt. Gary Knight, Oklahoma City Police Department.
Over the yearlong investigation, witnesses and anonymous sources pointed to Brenton Parker, 24, and Muhammed Sanders, 24. Both men were known gang members.
According to arrest warrants, the two men were after the toddler’s father. He was reportedly from a rival gang.
Tragically, the child was caught in the middle last December. She was killed when bullets went through a bedroom window of her grandmother's home.
“She was lying in bed with her grandmother when gunfire erupted outside,” said Knight. “Bullets came into the house. One of them striking the 2-year-old, killing her. The other striking the grandmother.”
The grandmother survived the shooting. The little girl's mother was out of town at the time of the shooting but spoke to News 9 by phone.
“She was life, a real definition of life,” said Tanika Branae, Riah's mother. “Anytime you see her she always had a smile on her face. Always laughing.”
The killing left neighbors shocked.
“A 2-year-old just died, why?” said Gregory Richardson, neighbor. “Senseless, we have to speak up.”
The child’s family can now have peace knowing two suspects are off the streets.
“Those cases are very difficult to work,” said Knight. “Those detectives take them very personally. So it’s fantastic news that they were able to identify these two.”
Both men are being held without bond.