Man charged in shooting death of 2-year-old

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has arrested a Charlotte man for the shooting death of a two-year-old boy, months after charging a separate man for the same crime.

Police say 23-year-old Ellis Eugene Royster was arrested at his Eastbrook Road home, charged with the murder of 2-year-old Amias Bernard Robinson. Police say the child was hit by two stray bullets back in August, after a $10 drug deal turned into a shootout.

According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the shooting happened August 13th, shortly after 9 p.m., along the 5800 block of Eastbrook Road in northeast Charlotte.

"I heard the gun shots about five or six times," neighbor Jimmy Whipple told WBTV shortly after the shooting. "I could hear some girl screaming, 'Blood is everywhere!' She kept running up and down the street saying the same thing. Then later on, the ambulance arrived, and I seen them put the baby on the stretcher and take him away."

After interviewing witnesses at the scene, police originally charged 34-year-old Alvin Alexander with murder.

Alexander was originally identified by a male witness who told police that he fired the shots that killed the little boy. Two other female witnesses also told police they saw Alexander fleeing the scene immediately following the shooting.

Late Tuesday, investigators told WBTV that the male witness recanted his earlier statement identifying Alexander as the shooter.  Another witness also came forward and gave investigators additional information about another person responsible for this shooting.

That's when police and the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office decided to drop the charges against Alexander.

This week, Homicide Unit Detectives re-interviewed seven witnesses, along with three additional witnesses who had yet to come forward. Multiple witnesses told investigators that Ellis Royster was the actual shooter.

Royster is being held in the Mecklenburg County Jail without bond, charged with one count of murder. He is expected in court Thursday afternoon.

This arrest marks Ellis Royster's fourth arrest in Mecklenburg County since 2004; previous arrests include drug and gun-related charges.