Toddler used as ‘human shield’ by father during 2019 drug deal gone bad passes away

A toddler passed away Tuesday less than three years after a tragic shooting in which prosecutors alleged the father had used his infant son as a “human shield” during a drug deal turned violent in North Philadelphia.

In October 2019, prosecutors claimed then 25-year-old Nafes Monroe had taken his 11-month-old son Yaseem Jenkins along with him when he went to buy drugs. In addition to his infant child, Monroe was accompanied by another man and his girlfriend, according to The Washington Post.

During a press conference Thursday, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner addressed the death of Jenkins, in addition to other matters, and explained that it is the belief of investigators that the child had succumbed to the injuries he had sustained as an infant.

“We are awaiting a medical examiner’s report on the cause of death but we have reason to believe the cause of death is his original injury from that shooting,” Krasner stated.

The alleged shooter, one Francisco Ortiz, had opened fire after learning that Monroe was attempting to purchase his drugs using counterfeit money. Jenkins was shot four times, including once in the head, near the neck and in the buttocks.

Anthony Voci, chief of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Homicide Unit, told the Post at the time, “Our investigation has led us to believe that he intentionally had his child with him when he was making such types of purchases with the idea or belief that if someone saw that he had a child in the car, that they would not fire upon him. A human shield is probably the term that I would use.”

“He was using counterfeit money to purchase drugs,” Voci added, “knowing that counterfeit money is something that is very upsetting to drug dealers, and when they find out that they’re being burned with counterfeit money, they act violently. And this was not the first instance of Mr. Monroe using counterfeit money.”

Ortiz had originally been charged with attempted murder, but if the medical examiner’s report confirms the bullet wounds led to the tragic death of Jenkins, Ortiz will face new charges of murder. He has also been connected to the shooting death of 2-year-old Nikolette Rivera who was killed in her home by the same gun used on Jenkins the following day in 2019. Officers believe Ortiz had given the gun away.

As for Monroe, who was originally arrested and charged for recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of a child, the Daily Mail reported that it remains unclear whether he ever served a prison sentence for his misdemeanor charges. In an apparently since-deleted post to his Facebook account, Monroe wrote on the day of his son’s death, “Last couple deaths I was numb.,, i feel this sh*t.”

Nadirah Jones, sister of Yaseem’s mother, Tiffany Jenkins, organized a fundraiser to cover the funeral costs for the toddler and wrote in part, “Yaseem fought long and hard to recover from his injuries while still being the strong happy kid he was but sadly lost the battle yesterday morning…Our family is devastated and heartbroken by his unexpected passing.”

Social media was filled with an outpouring of support for the loss of the child and condemnation for Monroe over his alleged involvement in the boy’s death.


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