Man charged with murder in 3-year-old Marcus Haislip’s 2017 killing

Gunfire wounds three in East Kansas City
Posted at 11:41 AM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 13:21:36-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 28-year-old Kansas City, Missouri, man faces a range of felony charges, including murder, in connection to the May 2017 shooting of a 3-year-old boy.

Marcus Haislip III, 3, was sitting in a car seat on May 12, 2017, near East 54th Street and Park Avenue when a man allegedly opened fire on the vehicle with a long gun from the porch of a house in the area.

Law enforcement identified Derrick D. Wren Jr. as a suspect. He is currently in federal custody and has been charged with second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of first-degree assault.

Wren also currently faces a federal charge of attempting to acquire a gun while under indictment. He was in ATF custody when the murder charges were added.

Baker said she hopes for additional charges in this case. She noted that the statute of limitations for armed criminal action charges has passed in the case.

Two other people in the car, Marcus’ father and uncle, with Marcus were shot but survived, according to court records.

KCPD investigators found multiple shell casings and a styrofoam cup on the porch from where witnesses said the shots came.

The homeowner said Wren fit the suspect description and had been seen with a gun similar to the weapon described by witnesses.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol determined in 2019 that Wren’s DNA was on the styrofoam cup and additional witnesses in September and November 2020 told police Wren confessed to shooting Marcus using a 7.62-milimeter pistol with a 30- to 50-round clip, according to court documents.

"I hope our community will see how many in law enforcement have worked over the last three-plus years to bring justice and to bring charges against the defendant," Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a statement. "We never gave up in our efforts. ... I especially want to thank our partners at the ATF and the Kansas City Police Department. Together, they've followed the leads and developed the evidence we need to obtain charges."

Prosecutors have requested a $250,000 cash bond in Wren’s case.

KCPD Chief of Police Rick Smith said he’s “thrilled” that an arrest was made and complimented the work of detectives and ATF partners, “who never gave up” on the investigation.

Haislip’s aunt, Dajanna Haislip, was also shot to death in 2017. The 19-year-old was pregnant with twins when she died in late November 2017.

Marcus’ father, Marcus Haislip Jr., was arrested in December 2019 for allegedly shooting two men, including a person of interest in his son’s murder.

Haislip Jr. was charged with two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of armed criminal action and unlawful possession of a firearm.

He is currently in custody at the Jackson County Detention Center and is scheduled to stand trial in the case beginning June 14, 2021, according to online court records.

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