Two year old was killed by "stray bullet," say police

The latest person to be killed by gunfire in South Bend was wearing diapers at the time—according to a witness.

Two year old John Swoveland, Junior was shot and killed while playing in the front yard of his aunt’s home shortly after 6:00 p.m. Wednesday night.

The incident took place near the corner of Campeau and Francis Streets.

Last night, police couldn’t say whether the shooting was intentional, but today they cast doubt on that possibility.

“A stray bullet struck and killed two year old John Swoveland, Jr.” read a press release from the St. Joseph County Prosecutor. “An argument may have occurred between two rival groups near the intersection of Arthur and Campeau Streets which escalated into shots fired. It’s believed that one group ran from the other group in a westerly direction from the gun fight and was fired upon. Based on evidence gathered, investigators believe the group that fired shots may have continued to fire as the other group fled the scene.”

The conclusion was based on ballistics evidence gathered from both scenes and from extensive interviews with witnesses.

At this point, police have made no arrests and have no suspects in custody.

Donnie Price lives next door to the home where the shooting took place. Price says his daughter was playing outside with John Swoveland, Jr. and Swoveland’s seven year old sister when the shooting took place.

“My daughter is saying that the car, she was the one who identified the car, it came from that way straight down when it got to this area, the guy had shot in the car out the window,” said Price.

Price used his cell phone to capture video of paramedics arriving on the scene. “Then when the mom comes out of the house she was in a stance and stuff, there was like a little blood around the edge of the Pamper so when she pulled the shirt up she seen the gunshot wound.”

An autopsy completed this afternoon found that the boy died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

“Every life is important, every life we hold dear, it’s particularly, particularly disconcerting that someone so young, so vulnerable, so innocent was taken from our community,” said Deputy Mayor Mark Neal, (D) South Bend.

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