A 12-year-old girl was shot dead in a drive-by shooting while she was sleeping at her home in Birmingham, Alabama, according to the police.
Audriana Pearson, who was to celebrate her 13th birthday on 17 January, was killed as she shared a bed with two friends on Wednesday as at least 17 bullets were fired into the home, the local police said.
The incident took place around 1.50am in the 500 Block of 16th Avenue NW, police sergeant Monica Law told the media.
Police have taken three people into custody and are investigating the death.
Ms Law said: “They were detained after a vehicle pursuit. We believe these people are connected to the homicide.”
The victim was a seventh grade student at the Erwin Middle School, according to the Jefferson County school system. “No one should have to endure this type of pain. We grieve with all who knew Audriana,” said superintendent Dr Walter Gonsoulin.
“To the individual or individuals responsible: Your reckless actions are inexcusable. You have robbed one of our children of the chance to grow up.”
“Audriana was a bright young lady with a big future. She was well-liked and enjoyed socialising with her friends and favourite teachers,” Erwin Middle School principal Dr Angela Bush was quoted as saying by Alabama’s AI.com.
“I met with Audriana’s family earlier today and offered condolences on behalf of the Erwin Middle School Family. We grieve with them and stand ready to support them. I would also like to tell our students, faculty, and staff that we will get through this tragedy together,” Ms Bush said.
Mayor Randall Woodfin said 17 bullets were fired into the home. On his Facebook page, the mayor wrote: “Her family is spending this season making arrangements for their daughter.”
“Pearson was all set to enjoy her Christmas break. But while she slept in her bed last night, her life was robbed from her. She was the victim of a drive-by, another one of our children stolen from us due to the intentional and reckless behaviour of others,” Mr Woodfin tweeted.
“There is very little to be merry about in households where laughter has been silenced by gunfire, and that breaks my heart.”
Meanwhile, the police statement said: “Families are left hurting, angry, and suffering at the hands of others and we are tired of our communities being ravaged by senseless murder. No family deserves to face the murder of a loved one; especially when the victim is a child who should have had many more years ahead to learn and grow.
“Children deserve to be safe at home with their families and enjoying the holiday season. They do not deserve to be gunned down while at home where they expect comfort and safety.”
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