Chavez R. Ocasio, 23, was charged with murder in connection with the fatal Sunday shooting 

By Christine Pelisek
April 13, 2021 04:10 PM
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Dior Harris
Dior Harris
| Credit: Facebook

New York prosecutors have charged a 23-year-old man in connection with the fatal shooting of a baby girl who was a few weeks shy of her first birthday. 

Chavez R. Ocasio was charged this week with murder, criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with evidence in connection with the death of 11-month-old Dior Harris. Harris was fatally shot Sunday while she was riding in a car with her mother and three others, including two girls, 3 and 8. 

"We have a very intense investigation going, and we are trying to determine if he was alone in the vehicle or other co-conspirators were present with him," Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick tells PEOPLE. "The pinpoint location of the shooting was not captured on video, but circumstantially we were able to determine what car was involved by other camera angles."

CNY Central reported that video surveillance showed gunfire coming from a blue 2003 Honda Accord, which is allegedly owned by Ocasio.

Ocasio was arraigned Tuesday in a Syracuse court and entered a mandatory plea of not guilty to all charges. Attorney information for him was not immediately clear.

Dior's mother, another woman and the three children were driving near their home in Syracuse in the early evening on Sunday when someone in another vehicle opened fire on their car, CNY Central reports. Dior's mother and the other woman were not injured. All three children were shot. 

"[Dior] suffered multiple wounds," Fitzpatrick says. 

"She was just a baby," Dior's mother Desiree Seymore, who was in the passenger seat, told CNY Central. "She was so strong. She didn't even cry when it happened, but we lost her."

According to CNY Central, Dior died of her injuries at Upstate University Hospital. 

Fitzpatrick says the 8-year-old was shot in the hip, and a bullet grazed the head of the 3-year-old.

"We are very lucky we didn't have two or three homicides," he says. "We used to be the safest large state in America. Not anymore."

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A motive behind the shooting is unclear. 

"It is a relatively high crime area but you should still be able to drive down the street in relative safety," Fitzpatrick says about the shooting. "We have a lot of work to do but we are doing it pretty expeditiously. We will follow the evidence."

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Syracuse Police Department at (315) 442-5222.