A 22-year-old man has been arrested in the death of an innocent bystander killed in a shooting that also wounded five others — including a 5-year-old boy — at a park where hundreds of people were celebrating Easter in 2021 after a fight between two groups of males escalated.
Jalynd Rayford was arrested on Thursday by a U.S. Marshal’s Service task force on a warrant for murder in the death of Areyelle Yarbrough, 32, the Birmingham Police Department said in a news release. He was arrested at an apartment complex in Georgia.
Rayford was being held without bail at the Gwinnett County Jail awaiting extradition to Alabama, online jail booking records show. It was unclear Friday evening whether he had an attorney.
Yarbrough’s father, Michael Yarbrough, is relieved by the news of the arrest.
“Giving credit to God almighty for his timing,” he told Birmingham’s WVTM 13. “I am grateful that we have closure now and that the young man has been arrested, and we will watch the criminal system work and do its job.”
Birmingham police Chief Scott Thurmond was pleased.
“This is the whole reason that you’re a law enforcement officer — to be able to tell a family that you’ve arrested the person responsible for their loved one’s death, to get some closure for their family,” he told the station. “Our investigators never give up. Regardless of how old a case may be, they’re always working to solve those cases, and I know that’s the frustration of many families is that they feel like their case is not being worked.”
On April 4, 2021, someone in a dark-colored SUV fired several shots into the crowd at Patton Park. Birmingham police responded just after 7 p.m. on a call of multiple people shot in the park. Once there, police found Yarbrough lying on the ground just outside the passenger door of her vehicle, where she died.
Five others — an adult and four juveniles aged 5 to 17 — were wounded and listed in stable condition then. The 5-year-old was hit in the lungs and broke his collar bone, the Birmingham News reported.
“He’s very strong and was responsive the whole way to the hospital,” his mother told the paper then. “He’s still very alert and will nod his head and hold your hand. He still has a long road, but the doctors are expecting him to make a full recovery.”
The shooting stemmed from a fight between two groups of males that escalated. More than 30 rounds were fired, police said.
The chief told the Birmingham newspaper then that the shooting might have resulted from a gang feud.
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