New details are emerging in the senseless July 1 shooting death of a 2-year-old girl and her family in Inkster, Michigan. Dead from the shooting spree is little Kamiya LaShawn Gross who was shot in the head at point blank range. Kamiya’s dad, 34-year-old Kenny French and a 12-year-old female relative named Chelsea Lancaster were also shot multiple times, but are alive.
Michigan State Police have a suspect in custody and are searching for a second suspect who may have driven the shooter to the scene, according to WXYZ in Detroit. Police announced the arrest of their primary suspect at a press conference, saying that the shooter was arrested at his girlfriend’s home in Brownstown Township.
Police say that Tuesday’s shootings are retaliatory in nature, and comeuppance for a separate shooting in April that took place at an after-hours club near Inkster High School. Apparently, the shooting suspect, now identified as Raymone Bernard Jackson, was involved in that incident. Police aren’t saying if Kamiya’s dad was the shooter in that altercation.
M Live in Michigan just reported that Kym Worthy, the prosecutor for Wayne County, has charged Jackson in the triple shooting that claimed little Kamiya’s life. Jackson is also from Inkster.
Jackson is charged with first-degree murder, torture, felonious assault, being a felon in possession of a firearm, felony firearm and two counts of assault with intent to murder.
Police did say that both French and Jackson were present at the shooting in April. Apparently, Jackson, described by police as “a man in his 30s,” was shot several times during the shootings in April.
Tuesday’s tragedy happened quickly and unexpectedly. Witnesses say the shooter casually approached the family while they were playing in the front yard of their home.
Officers say the suspect approached French and began speaking with him. He then pulled out a handgun and shot Kamiya in the head. He then fired multiple shots at the other victims, hitting Chelsea and French. He then ran away from the scene on foot.
The Huffington Post reported that Kamiya's mother, Erica Gross, had dropped her daughter off at her dad’s place the afternoon of the shootings. "My heart is broken, my heart is gone," Gross said.
"I'm a young mother. That was the best two years of my life, and it's taken away from me."
Andy Anderson, 51, of Detroit, witnessed the horrific event, according to USA Today. When the shots started to ring out, he was standing near a car at the public housing unit in Inkster. "He shot the baby,” Anderson told reporters. He couldn’t believe his eyes as he ducked behind the car for protection.
"I thought, 'No, he didn't.' And then he turned the gun and started shooting on the porch."
"I tried to scoot up under the car because I thought he was gonna kill everybody," he said.
Ten minutes before the mayhem erupted, Anderson’s grandchildren were skating with the two girls that got shot; but then his girls had to go inside for dinner. Anderson also said that just moments before the shootings, the shooter was dropped off by a driver in a white van just a few doors up the street. The driver parked near the house where the shootings took place, but then moved the van to the other side of the house. The witness went on to say that the gunman “casually" walked up to the family and started shooting. Anderson said that "My daughter's been up crying all night."
The Detroit Free Press reported today that 12-year-old Chelsea is “awake and talking” following surgery overnight at Detroit’s Children’s Hospital of Michigan to remove bullets from around her stomach and left leg. Chelsea’s grandfather, Darrell Holt Sr., 56, of Inkster, said that “She’s going to make a 100% recovery, but it’s just going to take time.”
A vigil will be held for the Kamiya tonight at 7 p.m. Community advocate Aaron Sims said that the neighborhood is taking the girl’s death and the other shootings very hard.
"For something like this to happen to a child whose life hasn't even started yet, it's beyond sad," he said.