BALTIMORE - After a ten day manhunt, Baltimore police have made an arrest in connection with the death of a 12-year-old girl. Investigators say 20-year-old Kevin Simpson is also linked to the murder of a city teen.
Simpson is been charged with vehicular manslaughter, and 8 other accident related charges in the death of sixth grader Shanizya Taft. If convicted, he faces just ten years in jail and some fines.
"He's responsible for taking the life of two children in less than a week, we had to find him, we had to bring him into custody, we had to bring closure to this family who had just undergone an unthinkable tragedy," explained Baltimore Police Lt. Eric Kowalczyk.
On May 27, police say undercover officers attempted to pull Simpson over after spotting him wearing a ski mask and driving a wanted vehicle. They say he sped off and eluded investigators. Arrest documents say Simpson was driving between 68 miles per hour and 81 miles per hour in a 35 miles per hour residential zone when he ran a red light and t-boned a minivan.
"This was clearly somebody who had no regard for any other life but his own," said Kowalczyk.
The crash, that happened in the 1100 block of E. Preston St., killed 12-year-old Shanizya Taft, and injured her mother and sister. Police say Simpson's arrest was a top priority. Investigators wouldn't give many details, but say he was arrested early Thursday morning in South Baltimore.
Officers had been looking for Simpson since he allegedly murdered teen Oscar Torres in Southwest Baltimore on Memorial Day. Officers are hoping people come forward with any information that can connect Simpson with the homicide.
"He is absolutely a person of interest, we believe he is connected to a number of crimes throughout the city of Baltimore," shared Kowalczyk.
"Kevin Simpson's reprehensible actions are responsible for taking the life of a 12-year-old girl, and we believe he is responsible for more acts of violence. It was hard work, dedication, and a tremendous amount of help from the community that led to his capture," added Police Commissioner Anthony Batts in a statement.
Simpson is being held on $1-million bail at Central Booking.
"The loss of Shanizya Taft is tragic and my mind goes back to that night standing in the hospital when her mother was told of Shanizya's death, no parent should ever have to endure such a loss. I'm proud of the hard work done by those investigating this horrible incident, and I remain incredibly thankful for the support of the community in bringing him to justice. It is clear that without community involvement this case would have been much harder to solve," explained Batts.
Investigators say it was help from the community and witness testimony that led police to Simpson. And now they need more help.
"He has a significant record, but what we're focused on is the incidents that we don't know about that he might be involved in," said Kowalczyk.
Police said they are continuing to investigate Simpson's involvement in the murder of Oscar Torres and other acts of violence. Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7Lockup.