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Murder charge against 15-year-old Knoxville boy withdrawn, prosecution continues against co-defendant

KPD said a man inside an overturned vehicle was pronounced dead Monday night, and a shooting is believed to have led to the crash.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — UPDATE AND EDITOR'S NOTE FEB. 24: The Knox County District Attorney General's Office said Tuesday a murder petition against a 15-year-old Knoxville boy has been withdrawn.

Because the boy, originally charged in November, is no longer facing the murder charge in Knox County Juvenile Court, his name is being removed from this story.

WBIR identified him after he was charged with murder, an offense in Tennessee that is an open record, because of the severity of the crime. 

The teen was a co-defendant with Ignatius Bingham, also 15, in the killing Oct. 25 of Junior Santiago in Mechanicsville. Bingham's prosecution continues.

Santiago was shot and killed as he drove a blue Mazda near Cansler Avenue and Wallace Street.

Gunmen approached his vehicle and tried to rob him during a drug deal. He fled and was shot. The Mazda overturned and ended up on its top.

PREVIOUS STORY: The Knoxville Police Department said officers took a 15-year-old Fulton High School student into custody after finding a fellow 18-year-old Fulton student dead inside an overturned vehicle Monday night in the Mechanicsville neighborhood.

According to KPD, officers arrived to a crash with injuries at Cansler Avenue near Wallace Street around 9:15 p.m. KPD said they had received a call shortly after the initial one advising them about a shooting that occurred in the area prior to the crash.

When officers arrived, they said they found a man, identified as Junior Santiago of Knoxville, inside an overturned vehicle. Santiago, who had attended Fulton, was pronounced dead at the scene.

KPD's Violent Crimes Unite and Crime Lab responded to investigate, and the Regional Forensic Center confirmed the victim had been shot at least once.

KPD said the 15-year-old male suspect was booked into the Juvenile Detention Facility on a juvenile petition for possession of a weapon with intent to go armed, with additional charges pending. 

According to records obtained by WBIR, the suspect, identified as Ignatius D. Bingham III, was charged with murder.  Bingham also was a Fulton student.

10News generally does not identify minors suspected of crimes. However, due to the severity of the charge and its impact on the public, we are releasing the identity.