Father accused of killing 8-month-old son charged with murder

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CLAYTON, MO (KTVI) - A man accused of fatally shooting his infant son while in his mother's arms is now in custody. Diata Crockett has been charged with first degree murder, armed criminal action, unlawful use of a weapon, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and domestic assault.

Diata Crockett's attorney Scott Rosenblum made the arrangements to turn himself in. Police were looking for Crockett since early Tuesday. He is now under arrest.

Crockett is accused of shooting and killing his 8-month-old son during an argument with his wife. He then drove away with his two other sons in a rental car. Reien was pronounced dead at Christian Hospital after being taken there by a Good Samaritan. The boys' father, 35-year-old Diata Crockett, is the suspect in the shooting.

The Probable Cause Statement says he pistol whipped the mother. She wanted a divorce.  The mother tells police that Diata said, "He should have killed her yesterday and that he was going to kill her and himself."

According to police, the family got into a rental car in Bellefontaine Neighbors when the mother said she felt coerced to get into the vehicle. The couple got into an argument and she got out of the car with the eight-month-old at I-270 and Riverview. Police said Diata shot at the mother during the dispute and ended up striking his infant son.

The Probable Cause Statement says:

"The mother feared that he would kill her and along the way. She found an opportunity to escape the vehicle. She was holding the baby she opened the car door. She only made it a few steps from the car when she heard a “pop” and felt burning on her arm. While holding the baby, she ran across a grass median on Riverview Bld. and tried to get help from a passing vehicle."

The mother and the Good Samaritan called police about the shooting and abduction while driving to the hospital with the wounded eight-month-old. She said that Diata Crockett was trying to run them off the road while they went for help.

A SARAA (regional abduction) alert and Amber Alert were issued for the children because they were in the car when Diata Crockett vanished. They were identified as three-year-old Blaze and two-year-old Ryker.

Blaze and Ryker were later found unharmed at a relative's house in Bellefontaine Neighbors.

According to police records, the 34-year-old has a criminal history that spans more than 15 years including burglary, assault, and property damage. Records show that in 2010 he was arrested by St. Louis County Police on felony drug and weapons charges. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Corrections officials say Crockett served six and a half months in prison before he was paroled.

The Crockett's neighbors claim the couple would argue at least twice a week outside the home and in front of the kids. Crockett's neighbors recently learned there was also an active warrant issued FOR his arrest. They wish something could have been done before the events unfolded.

"They get too arguing among themselves, it look like they would take it out on the kids. They did not have anything to do with it. One time I saw him pull the kids out the van and thew them out on him yard. That's when I wanted to step in, but then I said maybe I need to mind my own business." said a neighbor.

"He is extremely emotional. His family and devastated about the loss of his child." said attorney Scott Rosenblum.

Police Chief Sam Dotson said Crockett had made suicidal and homicidal threats against himself and his family prior to the shooting.

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