BROOKLYN — The callous gunman who fired wildly at a gangland rival in Brownsville last Sunday bragged about the shooting until he found out that he had killed his mark's 16-month-old baby, whom his target was pushing in a stroller, sources said.
The horrific shooting was believed to be in retaliation for a drive-by shooting last year that left one of the suspect's brothers wounded in addition to a 2-year-old girl, according to the sources.
The stunning revelations came as about a dozen NYPD cops and U.S. Marshals swooped down on an apartment in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. around 6 a.m. and arrested Daquan Breland, 23, an ex-con and the suspected triggerman and Daquan Wright, 19, in the killing of Antiq Hennis following a five-day manhunt, officials said.
Sources said that Breland, a Bloods member, boasted to neighbors about the shooting, only to break down hysterically crying when he was told that the baby had been killed instead of the boy's dad, Anthony Hennis, who was pushing the stroller.
Sources said that the shooting was in retaliation against Antiq's father — a Crips gang member with a long arrest record — for a Brooklyn shooting in July 2012 in which Wright's brother, Craig Wright, 23, was wounded.
According to the sources, investigators only recently learned that Hennis was the suspected shooter in that case because witnesses refused to come forward. Another man, Lawand Tinsely, is on trial for the shooting and it was not clear if Hennis would be charged.
The fusillade in the 2012 shooting, near Chester and Riverdale avenues, left six people wounded, including 2-year-old Ariyanna Prince and 13-year-old Kentrell Simpson, the Daily News reported at the time.
According to the paper, the gunman was aiming at a group of people on the sidewalk and may have been in retaliation for a gang-related incident.
Sources said that on the evening that Antiq was killed on Sept. 1, a witness spotted Wright, nicknamed "Dada," handing Breland, nicknamed "Five," a .45 caliber handgun, who then unleashed a volley of 4-5 shots in Hennis' direction.
Two of the slugs ripped through the child's stroller including one that hit the baby in the head. A fourth bullet was not accounted for. It was not clear if the gun was linked to other shootings.
After the shooting, witnesses saw both of the men fleeing the scene. Breland allegedly fled to a relative's house on Chester Street and bragged about shooting Hennis.
"I just shot that n----r," he allegedly said, according to the sources.
But a short time later, a woman came into the apartment and told him that the baby had been killed instead. “No you didn’t, you shot and killed the baby,” she said.
After hearing the news, Breland broke down and cried "hysterically." Then he asked someone in the apartment to call a cab.
Kelly said Anthony Hennis "declined to be interviewed" by the NYPD. But he said that the decision to charge him would be up to the DA.
According to Kelly, investigators tracked down the suspects to Pennsylvania by getting in touch with Wright's sister, who was dating Breland.
The sister told cops that the men were at the apartment two days earlier, but had left. However, detectives thought they were still there and conducted a canvas of the Sherman Hills complex.
One of the residents said that he had seen Wright around the complex and they tracked him down to another apartment.
Members of the U.S. Marshals Service as well as NYPD officers burst into the apartment around 6 a.m. Friday and found Breland and Wright in a back bedroom. Breland was on the floor and Wright was on the bed.
Both men, who were laying facedown, were apprehended without incident, according to Martin Pane, U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
The murder weapon still has not been found, Kelly said.
Breland had an outstanding warrant in New York for violating his parole in connection with a wild shooting upstate, the Marshals service said.
According to authorities in Auburn, near the Finger Lakes, and news service YNN, Breland served time for a 2009 shooting in which he and a cousin, Jaquan Breland, and others, got out of a "car with shotguns and fired into the crowd."
It was not clear if anyone was hurt in the shooting, but Breland was convicted on an assault charge. He served about two years and was released in January 2012.
Breland's mother said Friday that she had heard her son was just arrested but denied that he was involved in the shooting that killed Antiq. She added that she hadn't spoken to Breland in years.
Neither Wright nor Breland had been formally charged as of early Friday afternoon and were turned over to the Wilkes-Barre police ahead of an extradition proceeding.
Relatives were overjoyed by news of the arrests.
"This is a relief. Justice has been served a little bit. I thank God for that," said Miller's aunt, Mona Miller.
"My niece is with us, but she's in another world, right now," Miller added. "Antiq, aunty loves you. But God loves you the most."
With reporting by Ben Fractenberg, Tom Liddy and Dana Varinsky.