A toddler who prosecutors say was used as a “human shield” by his con artist father during a 2019 drug-related shooting in Philadelphia died Tuesday.
Yaseem Jenkins, 3, was just 11 months old when he was shot in the head, neck and buttocks after his father, Nafes Monroe, allegedly tried to buy drugs with counterfeit cash in the city’s Hunting Park section, officials have said.
The alleged shooter, Francisco Ortiz, 29, opened fire on Monroe’s car after the drug deal went sour, striking Jenkins, who was in the backseat, authorities have said.
“We are awaiting a medical examiner’s report on the cause of death but we have reason to believe the cause of death is his original injury from that shooting,” Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said at a press conference Friday.
Ortiz was expected to be charged with murder in the tot’s death if it is ruled a homicide by the coroner.
After the shooting, Monroe had been charged with recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of a child, according to KYW-TV.
“Our investigation has led us to believe that he intentionally had his child with him when he was making such types of purchases with the idea or belief that if someone saw that he had a child in the car, that they would not fire upon him,” Anthony Voci of the district attorney’s office said at the time.
“A human shield is probably the term that I would use.”
Less than 24 hours after Yaseem was shot, the same weapon was used to shoot another baby, police said. Nikolette Rivera, 2, died after suspects shot her in the back of the head while opening fire on her North Philadelphia home. Cops alleged Ortiz gave the killers the firearm he used to shoot Yaseem, according to the local outlet.