The point-blank shooting that snuffed out the life of 2-year-old Kamiya LaShawn Gross as she played innocently in the yard violated the “code of the streets” in Inkster, a community so ridden with crime that the police chief suggested last year the National Guard might be needed to help restore order.
Antwan Harrison, who lives in the public housing project where the little girl, 12-year-old Chelsea Lancaster and Kenny French, the toddler’s father, told the Detroit Free Press “an innocent sholdn’t have to pay for our suffering.”
“We’re talking about a senseless murder,” she said. “A guy with no morals …”
Inkster is one of Michigan’s most crime-ridden cities.
A year ago, Inkster Police Chief Hilton Napoleon told WJBK, Channel 2, that police layoffs had crippled his city’s ability to respond to a wave of violence in the Downriver community of 25,000.
Homicide statistics for 2014 were not immediately available, but in the 2014 state of the city report, Inkster Mayor Hillard Hampton said the city’s murder rate doubled in 2013 to 18 for the year, compared with nine the year prior. “Clearly, that is unacceptable,” he said.
To increase safety in Inkster, the city is partnering with the Michigan State Police and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department to increase patrols, and the Michigan Department of Corrections is amplifying visits to recent parolees, Hampton said.
At the time, Hampton reminded Inkster residents that “community policing is more than a cliché” and encouraged “candid conversations” about the nature of crime in the community and who is committing it
It appears residents are taking the mayor’s words to heart.
Tips led to a quick arrest in less than a day after the shooting in Brownstown Township.
Raymone Bernard Jackson, 26, of Inkster was to be arraigned Thursday on a first-degree premeditated murder charge, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, for being a felon in possession of a firearm and other charges, the Detroit Free Press reports.
WXYZ, Channel 7 reports Napolean said authorities think the deadly shooting spree was in retaliation for a shooting at an after-hours club in April. He didn’t say if French, who was shot multiple times but whose injuries were not life-threatening, was a suspect in that shooting.
“We do know that the adult that was shot last night, and also the suspect that did the shooting, were up there the night of that shooting back in April,” Napoleon said, according to the Free Press.
The other two shooting victims are recovering.
Chelsea Lancaster, 12, who was critically injured in the ramage, is expected to recover, her grandfather told the Free Press. She underwent surgery to remove bullets from her stomach and upper leg.
Authorities are looking for a second person of interest in the shooting. “We’re not going to tolerate this,” Napoleon said at the Wednesday news conference at Inkster City Hall. “I want to make it clear to all the wannabe thugs, hoodlums and drug pushers that we're going to get you.”