Milwaukee shooting of 1-year-old; man charged told his mom, 'I messed up'

A 27-year-old Milwaukee man is now charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a 1-year-old child outside Atkinson Library in Milwaukee on June 3. The accused is Davon Chapman – and he faces the following criminal counts: 

  • First-degree reckless homicide
  • Possession of a firearm by a felon

According to the criminal complaint, Milwaukeee police responded to a ShotSpotter alert that identified the sound of 11 gunshots near 19th and Atkinson on the evening of Saturday, June 3.


Davon Chapman

Another officer responded to a fire station not far from the shooting scene -- and learned a 1-year-old child, later identified as Zy'Aire Nevels, was shot and had been taken to Children's Wisconsin. 

"She fought all the way to the hospital, fought," said Montrell Nevels, Zy'Aire's father. "Literally a whole life ahead of her."

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Nevels later died.

Officers on the scene of the shooting located eight 9mm bullet casings in the street in front of Atkinson Library. This is close to the ShotSpotter alert.


Milwaukee shooting near Atkinson Library.

A detective spoke with the mother of Nevels. She said the 1-year-old was in a car seat just behind the driver, his father. 

The woman's 3-year-old was in a car seat behind her. As they left their home, the complaint says "a white Impala began following and then chasing them." 

"We sped up, they sped up. We went around cars, they went around cars," said Zhane Brown, Zy'Aire's mother.

The mother said she could see the defendant driving -- and stated that Chapman was her best friend's husband, and that she had been talking to the defendant.

The complaint says Nevels' father described being chased by the Impala -- even through red lights. He was "watching the rearview mirror as they crossed West Capitol Drive and saw muzzle flashes and heard gunfire," the complaint says. 


"We were trying to get away, and that when he let the shots off," Brown said.

Zy'Aire's father then drove to the nearby fire station. The child had been shot in the arm and head – and would not survive.

Authorities chased down Chapman. They arrested him on Interstate 94 in Kenosha County the next day. It all unfolded during a high-rick traffic stop.


I-94/41 traffic stop, Milwaukee homicide wanted individual arrested

A detective spoke with the defendant's mother. She said she spoke with the defendant on the phone and "he was crying and told her 'I killed a kid. I got kids I wasn't trying to do that,'" the complaint says. Later that night, the defendant texted his mother a news article about the 1-year-old child and said, "Ma, I messed up," the complaint says.

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"I want people to remember my baby as the innocent, beautiful, young sassy, independent girl that she was," Brown said.

A GoFundMe has been established in the name and faith of Zy'Aire Nevels

Chapman was scheduled to make his initial appearance in Milwaukee County court on Friday, June 9. But online court records do not indicate if that happened.