Chicago police say they have arrested a suspect in the shooting death of 7-year-old Serenity Broughton, who was killed in mid-August while sitting in her family's parked car in the Belmont Central neighborhood.
Aireon Luster, 24, was arrested in suburban Riverside on Wednesday, according to Chicago Police Supt. David Brown. Luster was found in the basement of his grandmother's home at the time of his arrest.
Luster faces charges in the murder of Broughton. He is also being charged with attempted murder in the shooting of her sister Aubrey, who was seriously injured.
"We hope to bring some measure of hope to the grieving family of these two innocent girls," Brown said during a press conference. "I want to assure the family that detectives' hard work will continue until all the offenders in this incident are arrested and held accountable."
Serenity and her sister were inside the vehicle after coming back from church on Aug. 15, according to authorities. Police say the girls were getting ready to head out on vacation with their grandmother when the shooting occurred.
Two people got out of a vehicle and fired shots in the direction of Serenity and her sister. The two individuals got back in the car and escaped with a third person, according to Chicago police.
Police, and the girls' family, believe that the shooting stemmed from a case of mistaken identity, with police saying that they believed the assailants were targeting another individual who lived in the household with the Broughton's.
“The fact is they were shooting at me because they thought I was somebody else and they missed and hit my girls,” said the girls' father Michael Broughton. “I had my baby in my hands and I watched her go. I held her. I was holding her when it happened.”
The family criticized Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and her office earlier this summer after the decision was made to release a person of interest in the case. That person of interest was Luster, according to officials.
“It was found that he was in the area so what else do they need,” asked the girls' grandmother Regina Broughton. “Those are couple questions that us as a family want to ask, what else would they need?”
Detectives initially told the family they had more than enough evidence to arrest Luster, including the suspect’s vehicle, evidence they found inside the vehicle, and cell phone records.
The State’s Attorney’s Office told detectives that wasn’t enough.
“This is an atrocity and it’s happening much too frequently. It’s happening much too often and there’s nothing being done about it,” said Broughton. “There’s people going unpunished for theses crimes. It’s unfathomable.”
The family later received a phone call from Foxx, who told them she warned detectives prior to them submitting the case that police didn’t have enough evidence to move forward, but detectives twice tried to bring the case forward for charges.
Foxx's office released the following statement at the time:
“As Cook County State Attorney, and as a mother, I am committed to ensuring justice and accountability on behalf of victims of violent crime, especially children. As prosecutors, we have an ethical obligation to review the facts, evidence, and law in each case and only bring charges when there is sufficient evidence to support a charge. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners as we work towards justice on behalf of the People of Cook County.”