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Gunman kills Inkster toddler, hurts 2 more people

  • Associated Press
  • July 2, 2014 - 5:50 PM

INKSTER, Mich. — A suspected gunman was in custody on Wednesday after police and a witness said he casually walked up to a suburban Detroit home, fatally shot a 2-year-old girl at close range and injured two more people including a 12-year-old girl.

The shooter fired multiple times at the three people on the porch of the home in Inkster Tuesday night, said Michigan State Police spokesman Lt. Mike Shaw.

The toddler, Kamiya LaShawn Gross, died at the scene, Shaw said. The older girl was hospitalized in critical condition and a 30-year-old man was in stable condition, he said.

Their names were not released, but Shaw said the man was the toddler's father and also related to the 12-year-old girl who lived at the home.

A shooting at an after-hours club that wounded three people in April may have spurred Tuesday's shooting, said Inkster Police Chief Hilton Napoleon. Inkster is 13 miles southwest of Detroit.

"This appeared to be an issue of retaliation," Napoleon said.

Both the suspect in Tuesday's shooting and the adult victim were present during the incident in April, he added. The identity of the suspect has not been released by police.

Kamiya's mother, Erica Gross, told WDIV-TV that she dropped her daughter off at the home Tuesday afternoon.

"My heart is broken, my heart is gone," Gross said. "I'm a young mother. That was the best two years of my life, and it's taken away from me."

Andy Anderson, 51, of Detroit, said he was visiting family in the area when the shooting happened. He told the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News that a man walked up to children playing in the yard and first shot the 2-year-old at close range.

"He shot the baby," Anderson said. "I thought, 'No, he didn't.' And then he turned the gun and started shooting on the porch."

Anderson said he ducked behind a car.

He said the gunman got out of a van driven by another person and walked up to the home before the shooting, then returned to the van and left.

"He walked down the street casually with a gun in his hand," Anderson said.

Inkster police got word of the shooting around 8:35 p.m. Tuesday. Police were at the scene and canvassing the neighborhood Wednesday and they didn't release any information about a possible motive.

Community activist Aaron Simms said he was organizing a vigil for Thursday night outside the family's home.

"People are just shooting because they don't know how to do anything else," Simms said.

© 2014 Star Tribune