A drive-by shooting that left a 6-year-old and 19-year-old dead and one other injured targeted the child’s house by mistake, a Florida police chief said.
Members of two rival gangs in the greater Orlando area were arguing over social media, Orlando Police Chief Eric Smith said in a Sept. 7 news briefing.
The chief said members of the gangs were arguing Aug. 29 over a live platform when it became heated and escalated.
Four members of one of the gangs then got into a car together and drove to a nearby home, intending to fire shots at rival gang members, Smith said.
Instead, they arrived at the wrong house and fired multiple shots into the living room, according to a Sept. 6 news release from the Orlando Police Department.
The shots hit 6-year-old Ajahliyah Hashim and her mother, police said.
The child died, and her mother is in the hospital recovering from her injuries, the chief said.
“Those guys get mad. They jump in a car, go down there and do a drive-by shooting and go to the wrong house. A person lost their life for absolutely no reason,” Smith said in the news briefing. “And they’re arguing about stupid stuff that doesn’t matter to any of us.”
Another man, 19-year-old Isaiyah Wright was also shot during the drive-by and later died, police said in the release, but police did not say if he was also in the home.
Police identified four suspects, and the first, a 15-year-old boy, was arrested Sept. 2, police said.
Two others, an 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy, were arrested Sept. 5, according to the release.
The last suspect, a 17-year-old boy, was arrested Sept. 6, police said.
All four alleged gang members were charged with first-degree homicide, police said.
Smith said he could not disclose how many of the suspected gang members fired shots into the home, as it was part of the active investigation.
On Sept. 7, Florida State Attorney Andrew Bain, who oversees Orange County, announced all four individuals were being charged as adults.
“Early diversion helps juveniles stay off the streets, and we are investing more resources in programs that work,” he said in a news release. “Diversion is twofold, and our office will take a tough stance on violent crime. When we charge teenagers as adults, we are deterring and addressing these acts of violence early to hold individuals accountable. Enough is enough.”
Ajahliyah Hashim was a student at Eagle’s Nest Elementary School, the county school superintendent said in a statement on Facebook on Sept. 1.
“Our students should not have to live in a world where their lives are in danger in their own neighborhoods,” Superintendent Maria Vazquez said in the statement. “We can not accept that these tragedies have become all too common in our community.”