Clarke County

Shooting that killed 3-year-old Athens boy likely gang related, police say

ATHENS, Ga. — Investigators tell Channel 2 Action News that they now believe that the shooting that killed a 3-year-old Athens boy was gang-related.

One suspect is in custody, but police are still looking for two others.

Channel 2′s Michael Seiden obtained new court documents that show one of the teen suspects charged in this case is also facing gun charges in a different case.

The shooting happened Friday night at an Athens mobile, killing 3-year-old Kyron Zarco. When Seiden stopped by the home Monday, he could see the bullet holes left behind from the shooting.

He also saw grieving members of the community who came out here to pay their respects.

“Man, I think it’s a damn tragedy,” one of the mourners said.

Police say the first call for help came in around 5:30 p.m. Friday.

When officers arrived, they found Kyron with a gunshot wound to his chest. A bullet also grazed his 9-year-old brother’s leg.


“He was just watching T.V. His brother held him while he took his last breath,” mother Shanita Smith said. “That was my miracle baby. That was my COVID baby. He beat all of the odds. Just for somebody to take him away from me in seconds.”

Police believe the shooting was gang-related and on Friday night, officers arrested Julian Cubillos, 17, in the case.  He’s charged with malice murder, felony murder, four counts of aggravated assault and violation of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.

Over the weekend, police announced that they’ve also issued arrest warrants for Jayden Brown, 16, and Dakious Echols, 18.

According to court documents, a Clarke County grand jury indicted Echols on charges, including obstruction of an officer and possession of a handgun by person under the age of 18.

If this tragedy wasn’t enough, neighbors told Seiden that the following day, a tree toppled on the family’s home.

There is a GoFundMe that has been set up to help out the family.


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