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Syracuse Police arrest three suspects in murder of 11-year-old girl

Ava Pukatch

Updated January 27 at 11 a.m.: Syracuse Police said the third suspect was taken into custody in Lincolndale with the assistance of the New York State Police on January 26. He was turned over to Syracuse Police Department Homicide Unit Detectives and brought to Syracuse. He is a 16-year-old adolescent offender and is charged with one count of murder in the second degree, one count of attempted murder in the second degree, and one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.

Ten days after a Syracuse 11-year-old girl was murdered in a drive-by shooting walking home with milk from the corner store, the community finally has answers.

Syracuse Police Chief Joe Cecile said two of the three suspects accused of the murder of Brexialee Torres-Ortiz were arrested Wednesday afternoon. They are charged with one count of murder in the second degree, one count of attempted murder in the second degree and one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.

"They are 18-year-old Ra'sean Patterson and 20-year-old Dahviere Griswold," Cecile said. "Both are city residents. There [is] still one more suspect to this horrific incident, but he is by no means unknown to us and by no means at large."

The third suspect was identified as a 16-year-old male who is currently a resident of a juvenile facility north of New York City. His name was not shared during the press conference. Onondaga District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick said the 16-year-old is from Syracuse and was on furlough the day Torres-Ortiz was murdered.

"He could walk out of the facility tonight, but he's 16 and he's not going anywhere," Fitzpatrick said. "We'll find him."

Reverend Maritza Perez spoke on behalf of the Torres-Ortiz family, who wore shirts with Brexi's image, saying they appreciate everything the community has done during their period of sorrow.

"We have to work all together in order to [enact] change," Perez said. "We have to do it in peace, not with hate. We have to do it in love. This girl has been teaching a lesson and we have to do it. [There's] too many crisis, too much violence."

Fitzpatrick said he is working with the Torres-Ortiz family to determine a way for Brexi to be remembered in the community.

"I pledge to you right here and I know I do this with the mayor and with the chief, you are not going to forget Brexi's name," Fitzpatrick said. "This community is not going to forget her name."

Fitzpatrick said there is still a long way to go as an arrest is not a conviction. The case will likely go to trial and there will be a grand jury presentation unless the defendants waive their rights to a preliminary hearing. The Syracuse Police Department said the investigation is still ongoing and they encourage anyone with information to contact them at 315-442-5222.

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Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.