1-Year-old boy killed in apparent home invasion in Mesa

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

MESA, Ariz. - A 1-year-old boy is dead after an early morning home invasion in Mesa.

It happened shortly after 7 a.m. at an apartment complex in the neighborhood southwest of Main Street and Horne, just west of Ellsworth Park.

According to Mesa police Sgt. Ed Wessing, a grandmother was watching five children when two armed masked men appeared at the back door of her apartment. The grandmother was doing laundry at the time and the back door was open.

"We don't know if it was drug related or what the motivating factor was here," Wessing said. He said officers do not believe the suspects intended to shoot the baby.

The grandmother screamed, and then at least one gunshot was fired. The toddler, identified at Jeremy Pineda, was shot in the head. Police arrived a minute after receiving the 911 call and transported the boy to a local hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.

Aerial video from the scene showed several police cars on the scene. Officers spent the day scouring the neighborhood and talking witnesses. Their investigation continued Monday night.

One witness reported seeing the suspects running from the apartment complex across nearby school grounds.

At this point, investigators don't have much to go on.

"We have very little information on either of these suspects, other than [that they were wearing] dark clothing and masks," Wessing said.

According to a witness, one of the men is bald.

Detectives are turning to the public for help finding the men. Police say the smallest detail can be helpful. Information that might seem unimportant can turn out to be essential.

"We need to catch these suspects and we need to catch them quickly," Wessing said.

Neighbors in the area were on edge knowing the suspects were still at large.

"This is generally a safe neighborhood, like for walking at night, but something like this, it just throws you for a loop," said Gene Darnell, who lives across the street from where the shooting took place.

Another neighbor, Jeanette Richards, stayed home from work so she wouldn't have to leave her kids alone.

"They never found the guys, it makes me nervous to leave my kids home," Richards said.

If you have any information about Monday morning's home invasion and shooting, you're asked to call the Mesa Police Department at 480-644-2211. You also can call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (948-6377), 1-800-343-TIPS (8477) or 480-TESTIGO (837-8446).