The Oakland Police Department says it will charge Lawrence Denard with the murder of 3-year-old Carlos Nava, NBC Bay Area's Jodi Hernandez reports.
Carlos Fernandez Nava was killed Monday in a drive by shooting in Oakland that shocked the community.
Denard is believed to be the shooter, according to one police source. He appeared in court Thursday afternoon wearing a green and white striped jail suit. He Looked out into audience for his family but he did not show any emotion.
The charges were read out loud and Dennard was told he will appear in court Friday to get an attorney.
He was denied bail and ordered to stay away from the other two victims.
The 26-year-old was charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder and one county of possession of a firearm by a felon, according to Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley.
“The brazen and senseless violence that took the life of an innocent three year old child has devastated a family and stunned our community," she said. "The defendant, with callous disregard for the safety of a neighborhood, wantonly shot and killed this toddler in front of his family as they walked home on a bustling Oakland sidewalk."
But an unnamed woman who says she is Denard's cousin said at the courthouse Thursday that her cousin is innocent.
She said Denard has a 4-year-old daughter of his own. She described him as loving and caring and that he is the kind of guy who would have thrown body in front of boy to save him.
The little boy's death has sparked anger and resolve to change the crime wave in Oakland.
Earlier this week, Oakland police spokeswoman Cynthia Perkins would only say that investigators were interviewing suspected gang members about the shooting.
Perkins said the investigation led to an arrest on Tuesday but that police don't think that person was connected to Monday's shooting.
"This investigation is ongoing and rapidly developing; we are confident that justice will be served," Perkins said in a press release.
Police Chief Anthony Batts attended a large vigil for Carlos Tuesday night. He told the crowd that people need to start cooperating with police who are trying to solve crimes.
"It takes an animal to take the life of a 3-year-old baby on an urban street in the middle of the day," Batts said Tuesday night.
Police responded to reports of shots fired in the area of 65th Avenue and International Boulevard at 1:12 p.m. Monday.
Two adult men were also shot, but their wounds were not life threatening. They were the intended target according to police and had no relation to little Carlos.
Carlos Fernandez Nava's mother, Theresa Nava, said her son knew he was going to die a week before he died.
Theresa said after he said that she kept him inside in fear that he was going to be hit by a car.
Wells Fargo has set up an account to help the family pay for funeral costs. Anyone interested in contributing can wire money to Carlitos Nava Foundation, Wells Fargo, 3981855954.