May 17, 2010 at 1:00 am

Michigan State Police to investigate death of Detroit girl

A woman brings balloons and flowers to a memorial at the house where a 7-year-old Aiyana Jones was shot and killed by police. (Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)

Detroit -- Michigan State Police will investigate the events that led to the death of a 7-year-old girl who was shot Sunday by a Detroit police officer.

Detroit police officials on Sunday asked Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy's advice whether an outside agency should investigate the shooting of Aiyana Jones, as opposed to Detroit's own detectives, said Maria Miller, spokeswoman Worthy's office.

Miller said "the prosecutor's office is the lead law enforcement agency in Wayne County, and (Worthy) was asked for her advice and opinion as to whether an independent agency should investigate" Sunday's fatal shooting of Aiyana Jones, which occurred when officers from the Detroit Police Special Response Team raided her east-side flat looking for a murder suspect. During the raid, an officer's gun discharged, shooting Aiyanna in the head and neck.

After the police investigation, Worthy's office will probe the matter, Miller said.

"We will still have our own independent investigation into the police-involved shooting," Miller said. "Our public integrity unit will conduct the investigation after the police investigation wraps up."

Worthy said in a statement released this morning that Detroit officials asked her to facilitate the State Police probe.

"On Sunday, I was approached by the Detroit Police Department about having an outside agency investigate the fatal shooting death of 7-year-old Aiyana Jones," Worthy said. "I agree that it is most appropriate that this be done independently."

Worthy said she has contacted the Michigan State Police.

"They have consented to investigate this matter," she said. "The Detroit Police Department will cooperate fully with the investigation."

Detroit police said today they are continuing their investigation into Aiyana Jones' death. She was sleeping on a couch when she was struck in the neck/head area during the police raid at about 12:40 a.m. Sunday at a two-story duplex in the 4000 block of Lillibridge.

"This is a terrible, terrible tragedy for everyone involved," Second Deputy Chief John Roach said today.

After throwing a concussion grenade through a window, police charged into the home and an officer's weapon fired after there reportedly was some sort of contact between the officer and Aiyana Jones' grandmother, Mertilla Jones, 46.Mertilla Jones has denied there was any sort of contact between her and police.

Mertilla Jones was released from custody Sunday afternoon, and it remained unclear if she will face charges. Police held her for more than 12 hours, during which time she also spent several hours hospitalized with what police said were medical issues.

At a press conference in front of the home Sunday evening, Mertilla Jones said there was no struggle: "I hit the floor when I heard them hit the window.

"They blew my granddaughter's brains out. They killed her right before my eyes. I watched the light go out of her eyes. I seen it."

Officers arrested a 34-year-old murder suspect at the scene, but it wasn't clear if he was arrested in the raid on the downstairs or upstairs apartment.

At a memorial service Sunday night, Mertilla Jones chanted that she wanted the police to "release her son" from custody. It was unclear whether she was speaking of the arrested suspect.

"At this point, we don't know yet if the suspect arrested on Friday is her son or not," Roach said today.

Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans was out of the country on vacation when the incident occurred and is due back in the city on Tuesday.

The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality has called Sunday's incident unique in the city's history because of the use of a stun grenade tossed into the crowded apartment. The group said it will call for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate police procedures used in the raid.

Staff writer Tom Greenwood contributed to this story."> (313) 222-2134