Meridian, Miss. 49-year-old Henry Jerome Armstrong was charged Monday with murder in the teenager's shooting death, one that happened in broad daylight in the 2700 block of 11th Street Sunday afternoon.
Armstrong's family members are coming forward to say they believe his arrest was premature, and that witnesses on the scene say the gunman was another teenager, not the 49-year old Armstrong.
His daughter, Lateefa Armstrong, says it's true the neighborhood kids often showed up at her father's house on 11th Street for a good meal. But this time, she says, witnesses say a fight broke out among the teenagers, and bullets started flying.
"When he cooks, he cooks for the neighborhood, so they all come around, get a plate. He doesn't know them, but you know, he welcomes them because they're in the neighborhood. So I just know he didn't do it," said Armstrong.
"They don't actually know who is shooting, but my uncle is being charged, and we think, I think, that it's not fair," said Roshonda Ashford, the niece of the suspect.
Ashford charges that police did not gather evidence that would have cleared her uncle, and did not take statements from witnesses who named another teenager as a suspect.
Newscenter 11 contacted Meridian Police for a response to the remarks made Monday night by Armstrong's family. Detective Dareall Thompson would only say investigators believe they have a "strong case" against Armstrong, and they will present it to a grand jury.