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.

Jeff Roberson/AP
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.

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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