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KANSAS CITY, Mo — It’s been a long wait for justice in the 2017 murder of 3-year-old Marcus Haislip III.

It took resources from the Kansas City Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to arrest the man they say is responsible for the child’s death.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker made the announcement Wednesday: “Though it’s been a long time coming, charges are being filed against Derrick Wren (Jr.) for his murder,” she said.

The 28-year-old has been charged with murdering the 3-year-old, who was shot and killed in May 2017 while riding in a car with his dad and uncle. The two adults were also shot but survived.

“This little guy paid a really big price with his life, for something that there’s no good explanation for why Marcus is not with us today,” Peters Baker said.

Court documents say witnesses saw Wren shoot at the victim’s car multiple times from the porch of a home at E. 54th Street and Park Avenue.

Haislip’s uncle saw the child was shot, his eyes rolling back in his head, and rushed the boy to Research Medical Center for help. By the time they got to the hospital it was too late, the child died in his car seat.

At Wednesday’s news conference, Peters Baker read a statement from Haislip’s mother: “Marcus was my third child, such a sweetheart. He loved his family. He loved music. His older brother and sister missed him every day and my grandmother took it very hard. She brings him up daily.”

You could feel that pain in Marcus’ great-grandmother’s voice when she spoke to FOX4 in 2017 under the protection of anonymity.

“Looking at my grandson in that casket, nothing but 3 years old,” she cried. “He was shot three times: in the head, in the arm and in the leg. It tore me up.”

Peters Baker said the evidence against Wren includes witness statements, ballistics and DNA evidence, specifically DNA from a Styrofoam cup found on the porch of the home from where Wren was allegedly shooting.

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One witness told investigators Wren confessed to the murder, saying “Wren was crying and said ‘This **** wasn’t supposed to happen.’”

FOX4 first uncovered Wren was a suspect in the 3-year-old’s death in 2019. ATF and KCPD submitted a case against Wren to prosecutors after a joint investigation, but he wasn’t charged at the time.

Then in December 2019, the child’s father, believing then that Wren killed his son, allegedly took revenge and shot Wren inside of a gas station at 37th and Broadway and also injured a worker there. Marcus Haislip Jr. has been charged and is in custody for that crime.