Man charged in fatal drive-by shooting of Kent toddler

A suspect has been charged in connection with the fatal drive-by shooting of 1-year-old Malijha Grant in Kent in April.

Speaking at a news conference Monday afternoon, Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas announced the charges against 25-year-old DeMartrae “Marty” Leshawn Kime. He has been charged with one count of second-degree murder and two counts of first-degree assault, Thomas said.

Kime is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 4. Thomas said Kime is in custody following a conviction on an unrelated federal charge of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Thomas said the shooting is believed to have been gang-related, and he identified Kime as a member of the Low Profile street gang.

During the eight-month investigation, police served 46 search warrants, interviewed 213 people and reviewed 7,100 pages of social-media content and 110,000 pages of phone records, Thomas said.

“Kime was not the only participant in this terrible murder, so we continue to work hard to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.

Kime has been in federal custody for the past six months on the firearm charge and is also facing a first-degree robbery charge in Oregon.

Malijha was strapped into her car seat in the back of a silver Chevy Impala driven by her mother with her father in the front passenger seat.She was shot once in the head by the occupants of a second vehicle around 4:30 p.m. on April 16. She died two days later at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Kent homicide detectives have long investigated the possibility that the shooting was part of a feud between rival gangs, the Deuce 8s and the Low Profiles.

Search warrants suggest the shooting was gang retaliation for the March 19 shooting of 24-year-old John Gerald Williams in downtown Seattle. Williams died from multiple gunshot wounds on March 22.

According to those warrants, Malijha’s mother, Lisa Lynch, told police that the baby’s father, Martrice Grant, is a member of the Deuce 8s.

At a May 4 news conference, Grant vehemently denied being a member of a gang.

During Monday’s news conference, police said they believe Grant was the intended target of the shooting.