Suspect wanted in murder of Cleveland toddler caught in Georgia

Published: May. 10, 2016 at 1:29 PM EDT|Updated: May. 11, 2016 at 3:02 AM EDT
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Donnell Lindsey's mug shot (Source: Cuyahoga County Sheriff)
Donnell Lindsey's mug shot (Source: Cuyahoga County Sheriff)
3-year-old Major Howard (Source: Family photo)
3-year-old Major Howard (Source: Family photo)
A young boy places a teddy bear at Major's growing memorial. (Source: WOIO)
A young boy places a teddy bear at Major's growing memorial. (Source: WOIO)
Police rope off crime scene at East 113th (Source: WOIO)
Police rope off crime scene at East 113th (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The man accused of shooting and killing 3-year-old Major Howard on Cleveland's east side last year was arrested Tuesday morning in Georgia.

Donnell Lindsey is accused of driving by, and firing into, the stopped car that Major, his godmother and a family friend were in on Sept. 15, 2015. Major was shot in the chest. He was taken to the hospital where he later died.

Authorities searched for 23-year-old Lindsey for seven months, but within the 48 hours before his arrest, investigators developed information that Lindsey was in Georgia. He was arrested Tuesday in the 500 block of Bridge Lane in Smyrna, Georgia. U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said that Lindsey had been staying with someone originally from the Cleveland area. He said that at this point, no one has been charged with harboring the fugitive, but charges could be possible in the future.

Elliott said when authorities showed up at the home where Lindsey was staying, the fugitive knew exactly who they were and why they were there.

"His reaction this morning was cocky, he wanted to know who turned him in. He thought he stayed one step ahead of us but again, we won," said Elliott. "We never forget about any of these cases. Especially we never forget about an individual who shot and killed a 3-year-old child in the city of Cleveland, so we never forget about these cases -- they are on our mind 24/7."

Major's uncle, Victor Freeman Jr. spoke to Cleveland 19 about the loss of the toddler.

"It's just hard, he was like a brother, so I can't see him grow up and play sports like I did or go to the same school as me," said Freeman.

He said that while the arrest won't fix his family's pain, it will help them move closer to closure.

"We can move on. It's just a step closer to getting justice for Major," said Freeman. "I know he's watching over us, everybody in the family and in the community."

Freeman thanked authorities and everyone in the community who reached out to his family since Major was killed.

Freeman said he looks forward to Lindsey's day in court, and said if Lindsey has a trial he plans to go to as much of it as he can.

Lindsey is in the custody of the Cobb County Jail. Elliot said it usually takes a week or two for a fugitive to be returned to Ohio.

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