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Family members of the victims in a deadly drive-by shooting last month that killed four and wounded five in Washington Highlands have demanded to know why a suspect in the brutal killings wasn’t arrested sooner.

Police reportedly tried to arrest Orlando Carter, 20, for his alleged involvement in another murder just eight days earlier, the March 22 slaying of fellow 20-year-old Jordan Howe, but couldn’t get prosecutors to sign off on the warrant. Carter now stands charged with first-degree murder in the mass shooting on March 30, as well as second-degree murder in Howe’s death.

After Carter’s preliminary hearing last week, family of the slain surrounded U.S. prosecutor Bruce Hegyi, peppering him with questions as to why authorities had failed to act prior to the second shooting, which took the lives of their loved ones.

Hegyi explained that there just wasn’t enough evidence at the time to hold the alleged killer in the first case. “I’m a father,” the prosecutor told the grieving families, “I’m aching for you.”

Standing to his right, Nardyne Jefferies, mother of fatally shot 16-year-old Brishell Jones, grimaced. “I used to be a mother,” she said.

During the hearing, police reiterated much of what authorities have already said about how they believe the shooting went down. Namely, that it was inspired by a conflict that started over a missing bracelet. Of course, the circumstances might be a lot more complicated than that.

A status hearing in Carter’s case has been scheduled for July 16.