--George Hunter, Doug Guthrie and Valerie Olander / The Detroit News
Mertilla Jones recounted the horrific death of her granddaughter this evening outside the home where the 7-year-old was killed by a police bullet.
"They blew my granddaughter's brains out. They killed her right before my eyes," Jones said. "I watched the light go out of her eyes. I seen it."
Aiyana Jones was fatally shot early Sunday by a Detroit Police officer hunting for a murder suspect, police said. She had been asleep on a living room sofa when officers raided her east-side home.
Police arrested a 34-year-old suspect, but declined to say if he was found in the downstairs apartment where the girl was shot or in an upstairs flat they also raided.
The shooting happened at 12:40 a.m., when the Special Response Team executed a no-knock search warrant on the duplex in the 4000 block of Lillibridge. Officers rushed in after throwing a stun grenade through the glass of a front window.
Family members said they were told by police the gun discharged when Mertilla Jones, 46, attempted to wrestle away the officer's weapon. Later Sunday, police spokesman John Roach said the weapon may have fired simply because Jones and the officer collided.
Mertilla Jones was held until Sunday afternoon, and it remained unclear if she will face charges. Police said she spent several hours hospitalized with what police described as medical issues.
Ron Scott, leader of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, said tonight that his group will seek an investigation of the shooting by the U.S. Department of Justice and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
"They came into my house with a flash grenade and a bullet," said Charles Jones, father of the slain girl. "They say my mother (Mertilla Jones) resisted them, that she tried to take an officer's gun. My mother had never been in handcuffs in her life. They killed my baby and I want someone to tell the truth."
Police had been seeking the 34-year-old suspect from Friday's slaying of 17-year-old Southeastern High School student Jerean Blake at a liquor store near the corner of Mack Avenue and St. Jean, said Detroit Police Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee.
Speaking on behalf of Police Chief Warren Evans, who is on vacation, Godbee said, "This is every parent's worst nightmare. It's also every police officer's nightmare."
Godbee stressed that information he released was preliminary, and that the police department planned to launch a full investigation. He also said police are not categorizing the shooting as accidental yet, "although we don't believe the gun was discharged intentionally."
Deputy Chief James Tolbert said investigators will submit a warrant for the 34-year-old man "as soon as possible." The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on leave with pay during the investigation.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Anti-Racist Action: 7 year-old killed by a polce bullet