Detroit television stations, including WXYZ, as well as the city's newspapers, report a story that chills parents' and grandparents' bones: A seven-year-old girl asleep in her grandmother's home Sunday was shot in the head by police. The child is dead.
Freep.com reports that toys were scattered on the front lawn when mourners gathered at the house where police killed Aiyana Jones:
"I seen the light go out of her eyes," her grandmother, Mertilla Jones, 47, wailed outside the home Sunday afternoon after being released from police custody.
Jones was in the living room with Aiyana about 12:40 a.m. when a flash went off and a loud noise was heard.
Police rushed in, guns drawn.
Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee said Jones got into a tussle with the first officer in, causing his gun to go off.
A bullet pierced Aiyana's head and neck.
In the video below, Aiyana's father says that she was his only daughter, and her aunt says, "I'm not against the police, but be right when you do something. Just be right."
WXYZ further reports that the shooting may have been caught on tape by a film crew for a cable show. The Detroit police have called in an outside agency, the Michigan State Police, to investigate the shooting, says the Detroit News.
On Twitter, the hashtag #aiyanajones has surfaced. Tweets reveal both sorrow and anger at the child's death, and under simply her name Aiyana Jones, one tweet from InvincibleDet has been retweeted 19 times, "sick with grief." The tweet shares a link that sends readers to a blog post by Adrienne Maree.
there is no justice. not for aiyana stanley jones.
there is punishment, and perhaps accountability. someone to point towards, many people, a trail of blame, stories, mistakes and tears.
Coverage at the Detroit Free Press includes video of mourners at the prayer vigil and a link to a statement from Assistant Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee. You may read his full, unedited comment, in which he says that he understands that this tragedy is a parents' worst nightmare; nevertheless, before detailing the police's version of events, he stresses that no final determinations have been made.
A natural question arises: Why haven't we heard more about this little girl's death in national news? The story is building, however, and has been picked up by the Associated Press.
As do many other American cities, Detroit sags under crime. Facing an outraged public, its officials and others sympathetic to law enforcement have asked people to wait until the investigation concludes before pointing fingers.
"Things go wrong, and things happen that you didn’t necessarily plan for," retired Detroit Police Sgt. David Malhalab told the Detroit Free Press.
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