UPDATE: Police looking for two of eight suspects charged in shooting death of 2-year-old

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Just eight days after 2-year-old John Swoveland Jr. was shot and killed while playing outside, St. Joseph County Metro Homicide investigators believe they know who's responsible.

During a press conference Thursday afternoon, they announced eight men have been charged in the case.

They range in age from 15 to 23 years old.

Police are still looking for 19-year-old Robert Griffin and 23-year-old Xavier Primm.

Griffin faces charges of murder and attempted murder. Police say he was last seen in the South Bend area.

But, Primm may have left town. He's facing a charge of assisting a criminal.

Both men are considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 288-STOP, where they can leave an anonymous tip.

The six others charged in the case are behind bars.

19-year-old Tarez Buchanon is being held without bond on murder, attempted murder and gang enhancement.

18-year-old Joshua Hodge is charged with assisting a criminal.

17-year-old Daniel Williams is being charged as an adult. State law allows prosecutors to do so because he was carrying a handgun when a felony was allegedly committed. He faces charges of assisting a criminal, gang enhancement and carrying a handgun.

Three other juveniles are being held at the Juvenile Justice Center. The St. Joseph County Prosecutor's office wants to waive them to adult court.

A 15-year-old faces a charge of aiding in murder and gang enhancement. The other 15-year-old and a 17-year-old are accused of gang enhancement and assisting a criminal.

A charge of gang enhancement automatically doubles any sentence for the crime.

Metro Homicide says at least five of the men are part of the same gang, although South Bend Police Chief Ron Teachman hesitated to label them that way. He says that implies they're part of a national, highly-organized group.

Police say the group went to an area on Campeau Street near Coquillard Park to fight a rival group.

When they arrived, two people pulled out handguns and started firing. Another person pulled out a shotgun, but didn't fire any shots.

Police say they also found casings from a semi-automatic weapon in the area.

One of the bullets traveled roughly three blocks and hit John in the chest, killing the toddler.

Investigators say several children around the ages of 11 and 13 were playing at Coquillard Park at the time of the gun battle and were able to positively identify the suspects.

The tragic case is one that's struck a chord with the community, and proven emotional even for investigators.

"All of us have children," said St. Joseph County Deputy Prosecutor Ken Cotter. "None of us want to go through that. And, I think, frankly, the officers put themselves in the shoes of the parents. And, say, 'How would I want somebody to investigate the death of my kid?'"

Police say while eight suspects have been identified, there may be others involved in the crime. They're still trying to locate the semi-automatic weapon used in the gun battle.

Anyone with information can leave an anonymous tip by calling 288-STOP.

Metro Homicide continues to investigate several other homicide cases. The most recent was early Wednesday morning, when 18-year-old Nathan Hall was shot in the head while riding his bike.

Police haven't made any arrest in that case. They continue to plead with the community to help them stop the violence.

"If you're a young kid out there and you're listening to this, leave the gun alone," said Lt. Dave Wells, assistant commander of Metro Homicide. "Leave it alone. Put it down."


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