A 23-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder in the shooting death of a baby in Compton was released Wednesday after prosecutors declined to file charges in the case, sending it back for more investigation.
The case presented by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department against Ray Howard Patterson was returned to investigators, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.
No charges have been filed against Patterson in the death of Autumn Johnson, who turned 1 just days before she was shot in her crib Feb. 9.
Patterson was released at 6:01 p.m., inmate records indicated.
Authorities have not said what led them to suspect Patterson, only that leads developed during the investigation prompted him to be taken into custody.
“The arrest was based on probable cause to believe he was involved in her murder,” a statement from Homicide Bureau Capt. Steve Katz read.
Prosecutors asked for further investigation and had no additional comment, DA’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani told KTLA in an email.
Patterson’s arrest on suspicion of murder was announced by the Sheriff’s Department Tuesday. He was taken into custody Monday afternoon in Compton.
Patterson was believed to be the gunman who fired into a converted garage in the 300 block of North Holly Avenue, striking Autumn, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Authorities had said two black men fled the shooting in a blue Chevrolet Impala.
Patterson was initially held without bail at the Men’s Central Jail in downtown L.A., inmate records indicated.
Relatives of the victim told KTLA Tuesday that they were ecstatic about the arrest.
Investigators believe the shooting was gang related and said they were looking for additional suspects and evidence.
In announcing that Patterson would be released, Katz asked for help from the public in the case.
“Detectives believe there are community members who can help solve this tragic, senseless murder of a baby,” Katz’s statement read. “The Sheriff’s Department is asking anyone with information about the suspect(s) or the events before, during or after the murder, to provide that information and aid our efforts to bring justice to Autumn and her family.”
A $75,000 reward has been offered in the case.
Anyone with information was asked to call the Homicide Bureau at 323-890‑5500, or, to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 800-222‑8477.