Police are searching for clues to identify the person who shot into a Ferguson, Mo., home, killing a 9-year-old girl doing homework on her mother’s bed Tuesday night.
During a news conference Thursday, Ferguson police Sgt. Dominica Fuller said Jamyla Bolden was fatally shot while her mother, 34, was shot in the leg and treated at a hospital.
Fuller, also a mother to a 9-year-old girl, was one of the police officers present at the scene. She tried to provide aid to Jamyla, but the child died later from the gunshot.
“You have a 9-year-old child on her mother’s bed doing homework and a bullet strikes her,” Fuller said. “Our concern is to get this person off the street.”
Jamyla’s grandmother told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said she ran into the bedroom after someone opened fire about 9:30 p.m. She did not want her name used in the newspaper because she feared for her safety.
“I kept holding and holding her,” the grandmother told the Post-Dispatch. “I still have her blood on my hands. She was still breathing. I was telling her to just breathe.”
Police said a motive was not known, but they are working on leads they have gathered thus far. Police also said they don’t know if the shots were fired from a car or from someone standing outside the home.
The Post-Dispatch reported there were five visible bullet holes on the exterior of the house: three in the screens of two windows with shattered glass behind them, and two more in the house’s aluminum siding.
The Associated Press reported that the small ranch home sits on a street that intersects with Canfield Drive, where unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown was killed a little more than a year ago by a white police officer. A house next to where Jamyla was shot has a yard sign that reads, “We Must Stop Killing Each Other.” Similar signs have sprung up around St. Louis as homicides are on the rise in the region.
“I never in a million years thought that I’d be laying my daughter to rest,” said James Bolden, Jamyla’s father, to KMOV-TV.
A vigil for Jamyla was held Thursday night where more than 200 people called for people to share information to help find the shooter, the Post-Dispatch reported.
“We all have to work collectively to heal this community and this family,” said Ferguson Interim Police Chief Andre Anderson, the newspaper reported.