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West Palm Beach police announce $40,000 reward in toddler's killing

Kaleb Watson, 1, was shot and killed while sitting in backseat of car on April 7
A family photo of Kaleb Watson, 1, who was shot and killed in West Palm Beach on April 7, 2022 (2).jpg
Posted at 11:32 PM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-27 23:32:56-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — West Palm Beach police on Wednesday announced an increased reward of $40,000 in the shooting death of a 1-year-old boy earlier this month.

Kaleb Watson was shot and killed around 6 p.m. on April 7 while sitting in the backseat of a car, which was parked in an alley.

The toddler's mother and father, both 20, were also in the vehicle when a gunman came up and opened fire. Kaleb's mother was shot, but survived, while his father was not hit.

As of Wednesday, the shooter has not been captured.

A family photo of Kaleb Watson, 1, who was shot and killed in West Palm Beach on April 7, 2022.jpg
A family photo of Kaleb Watson, 1, who was shot and killed in West Palm Beach on April 7, 2022.

RELATED: Family of 1-year-old killed in West Palm Beach shooting seeks justice

"The people that are responsible know exactly what happened, and the people that witnessed this incident knows what happened," West Palm Beach Police Chief Frank Adderley said a news conference Wednesday. "We're asking for them to come forward."

An impassioned Adderley announced the reward for an arrest and conviction in the case has increased to $40,000.

Multiple agencies have contributed to that reward, including the West Palm Beach Police Department, FBI, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

"A 16-month-old was murdered. Where's the voice of the community?" Adderley said. "Is it that this is gonna be accepted by the people that live in this neighborhood? Or are we gonna make a positive change?"

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West Palm Beach police announce $40,000 reward in toddler's killing

Adderley released very few new details about the investigation Wednesday — including staying tight-lipped about a possible motive — saying doing so could compromise the case.

The police chief did, however, admit that detectives are not getting much cooperation from people who live in the "high crime neighborhood."

"I think it's a shame. I think this community needs to take ownership and say, it's time for a change here," Adderley said. "It's too many violence. It's too many shootings in this neighborhood, and we need to stop it."

Crime scene tape in the area of Fourth Street and Douglass Avenue in West Palm Beach after a deadly shooting on April 7, 2022.jpg
Crime scene tape in the area of Fourth Street and Douglass Avenue in West Palm Beach after a deadly shooting on April 8, 2022.

"A bullet don’t know-no name," said resident Geneva Thomas, who's lived off Douglass Street for more than two years.

On Wednesday Thomas received a new police flier, showing there's now a $40,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

"It’s too much! We need the mayor to come here. It’s too much killing for no reason. It’s a baby! I’m scared for my life now," Thomas said.

But some neighbors said there’s a sense of fear and retaliation if someone talks.

"It's a bad situation," said a woman named Destiny. "If you say something and they know exactly who said something, that might be your life, you know? You’re not going to get a lot of cooperation when it’s someone else’s life that you're putting on the line for information."

Anyone with information that can help investigators is asked to call the West Palm Beach Police Department at 561-822-1900 or Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at 1-800-458-TIPS.

This story was originally published by Matt Papaycik at WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida.