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A year after a Lubbock pre-schooler was killed, family and police still looking for answers

Cornelius Carrington for web.jpg
Provided photo
Cornelius Carrington

On Dec. 17 of last year, Lubbock Police were called to a home in the 700 block of East Ursuline Street following reports of a drive-by shooting.

Officers were told a victim, 4-year-old Cornelius Carrington, was taken to University Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased.

One year later, the family of Cornelius is still looking for justice. Lt. Marc Wall of the LPD Metro Special Crimes Unit, who recently spoke to members of the media about the investigation, is upset by the absence of real developments in the case and the resulting lack of closure for Cornelius’ family.

“To me, it's the most cowardly act that somebody could take, just randomly shooting at a house,” Wall said. “And in this case, an uninvolved 4-year-old boy, who didn't have anything to do with anything that was going on, was struck by gunfire.”

Wanda Benson, Cornelius’ grandmother and guardian, said Cornelius woke up happy that morning. He loved school and it was the last day before Christmas break. After school, Benson said Cornelius’ father picked him up for a short visit.

“I get a call two hours after, he was gone. Just two hours,” Benson said. “[They] said he had been shot. That was so hard to believe. A 4-year-old, shot. I couldn’t comprehend it.”

His family said it’s hard every day, but they just want peace and justice. When asked what keeps her going, Benson said it’s seeing Cornelius all over her house and knowing he would want her to get up. She hopes that someone, somewhere, will come forward so this can be over.

“It won’t be right until someone comes forward,” Benson said. “It won’t bring him back, but at least it’ll make me feel a little better in my heart.”

Police have received some third party information, but no suspects have been named. The one real clue so far, according to investigators, is a photo of a white compact SUV. The vehicle was reportedly driving on East Ursuline the night of the shooting, and police believe the shots came from that SUV.

21-49494 Suspect Vehicle .png
Photo provided by the Lubbock Police Department
This vehicle is believed to be involved in a drive-by shooting that killed a 4-year-old on Dec. 17, 2021.

The photo of the car is grainy, and tips from rumors are not enough to get the subpoenas and search warrants investigators need to take the next step.

Wall said he believes someone knows information that could close the case, and he’s asking them to speak out.

“I truly believe that there's somebody within our community that is going to the same grocery stores that we're going to, that may attend the same community events that may take place within the community. They know what happened. They know the specific people involved,” Wall said.

As it stands, police say the shooting itself could be described as “a retaliatory act,” and Cornelius was unintentionally caught in the middle. Whatever the preceding factors, what followed, according to Wall, was a senseless murder.

“It's important that the public understands: Cornelius was living his life,” Wall said. “He was at this house, visiting his dad, playing with friends, doing what 4-year-old boys do. And some coward drove by and randomly fired several rounds from a gun. And one of the rounds struck Cornelius and took his life.”

A Justice for Cornelius Walk will take place on the anniversary of his death, Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The walk will begin at the LPD division station on 19th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and end at Cornelius’ school, Rise Academy.

There is a $15,000 reward still available for any information that would lead to the identification of a suspect related to this case. Information can be provided anonymously by calling CrimeLine at 741-1000.

Sarah Self-Walbrick contributed reporting to this story.