Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has charged two Kansas City men in the shooting death of 6-year-old Angel Hooper.

Baker announced Wednesday night that Howard K. Chase IV, 19, and LeAndre Smith, 21, each have been charged with second-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon.

Angel was shot in the head the night of Oct. 17 as she held her father's hand while leaving a south Kansas City convenience store with her father. The suspects didn't know either Angel or her father, according to court documents.

Baker said the shots were fired from a passing white Pontiac Grand Prix and were intended for someone else.

"That bullet was not meant for this 6-year-old Angel Hopper, but she remains one of Kansas City's most tragic homicide victims," Baker said during a news conference outside her office.

She is requesting that a judge not allow the men to make bond. They are expected to make their first court appearance on Thursday.

Chase allegedly told a witness that he destroyed the weapons involved in the shootout at the convenience store.

"They won't find them, they are gone. Melted," Chase is quoted in court documents as telling a witness.

On Tuesday afternoon, police swarmed the area of 67th Street and Bellefontaine Avenue in search of Chase, who was taken into custody. Smith was arrested on Oct. 28.

Charity Guinn, Angel's mother who has become an outspoken advocate against violence, declined comment on Wednesday. The family issued a statement through Baker saying they offered their "heartfelt thanks" for the community's support.

Ashley Newson, a cousin of Angel's, said the arrests bring closure "but it'll never erase the pain."

"She's not going to be at Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner or celebrating her 7th birthday that's coming up," Newson said.

The reward for information leading to a conviction in Angel's death stands at $21,000.

The lead investigator into the shooting death of Angel met with Jackson County prosecutors Wednesday to provide information on the suspects, which led to the charges being filed.

Court documents indicate that the occupants of the white Pontiac Grand Prix were firing at two people inside a stolen black 1997 Mazda. That vehicle was later found riddled with bullets and abandoned at Interstate 435 and 87th Street.

The shootout apparently stemmed from a fight between two females and Chase was allegedly at the fight with an AK-47. One of the female's was his cousin, police said. The fight was apparently recorded on video. Someone in the black Mazda fired at Chase, according to court documents.

Smith's girlfriend owned the Pontiac Grand Prix, according to court records. She told investigators that Smith and Chase were gone in her vehicle for about 40 minutes about the time that Hopper was shot, and that Smith was agitated at the time, according to court documents. A confidential informant claimed that Smith and Chase used a .40-caliber Glock and an AK-47 in the shootout.

Both Smith and Chase denied any knowledge of Angel's death, according to court documents. Chase claimed that he was at an apartment at 76th Street and Monroe Avenue at the time of the shooting, but cell phone records place him in the area of the convenience store, according to court documents.Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.


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