Lawrence Denard did not enter a plea on Friday but has said he isn't responsible for the death of three-year-old Carlos Nava, who was shot in front of his family this past Monday in Oakland.
Denard's family came to court on Friday to support the shooting suspect. They say he told his sister that he was innocent. One supporter, who wouldn't give her name, said he's being framed.
"Somebody is trying to set my cousin up, like he the one who did it," said Denard's supporter. "And he's not the person who did it."
Family members say Denard would never kill a child because he has a four-year-old girl of his own that he takes care of. Denard's family left the courtroom angry and confrontational on Friday.
Police say Denard was the shooter in the drive-by shooting that killed Nava on Monday. The three-year-old was with his family at a pizzeria on 64th and International Boulevard in Oakland.
When shots rang out, patrons of the Little Ceasar's restaurant ducked for cover.
Investigators say Denard was aiming at two rival gang members, both of whom were wounded. A witness later told police Denard fired the gun.
Police arrested Denard at a home in Pittsburg on Tuesday.
In the meantime, the impromptu tribute to the little boy continues to grow on International Boulevard. Scott Sorensen dropped off a stuffed animal.
"I have a three-year-old, about the exact same age as Carlos," Sorensen said, "and when I heard the story, it just devastated me inside for the family."
Debra Anderson says she just can't understand what's happening on the streets.
"This is just senseless," Anderson said. "It's awful. You can't spank your kids no more. These kids are out of control. It's just ridiculous."
There will be a car wash for Nava's family over the weekend at the same intersection where the three-year-old was shot.