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Death of 9-year-old girl adds tragic nuance to Ferguson story

Jamyla Bolden was shot while doing her homework on Tuesday night when someone fired bullets into her home.

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    Ferguson police Sgt. Dominica Fuller speaks during a news conference Thursday, in Ferguson, Mo. Fuller gave an update on the investigation into a shooting that left a 9-year-old girl dead and her mother injured after someone fired shots into their home Tuesday in Ferguson.
    Jeff Roberson/AP
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Police in Ferguson, Mo., are looking for the person responsible for the death of a 9-year-old girl who was killed when someone fired shots into a home where she was doing her schoolwork.

Jamyla Bolden died Tuesday night while her mother was hit in the leg and brought to a local hospital. It is unclear whether their home was directly targeted or whether the shots were random. The shooting took place just a few blocks from the place where Michael Brown was fatally shot by white police officer Darren Wilson last year, a death that fueled the Black Lives Matter movement and, in Ferguson, protests that occasionally turned violent. 

Following Tuesday’s shooting, police rushed to the scene.

"You have a 9-year-old child on her mother's bed doing homework and a bullet strikes her," Sergeant Dominica Fuller, the first officer to arrive on the scene, said. "Our concern is to get this person off the street."

"As a mother I was hurt," Ms. Fuller, who is also the mother of a 9-year-old, said. "I showed emotion and I cried and said a prayer for her and my heart is still broken."

Thursday evening, more than 200 people, including police officers and Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III, gathered for a vigil honoring Jamyla, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Crime data in Ferguson for 2014 and 2015 are not yet public, but some reports have suggested that the crime rate has begun to rise in recent years.  

A 2014 New York Times analysis of crime data suggested Ferguson's violent crime rate is relatively low compared with surrounding areas.

This report contains material from the Associated Press.

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