Autopsy: 7-year-old killed by multiple shots
An autopsy found that 7-year-old Chanell Berry died of multiple gunshot wounds after her home was hit by a hail of bullets in response to a domestic dispute, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The medical examiner formally identified the girl and ruled her death a homicide, spokesman Lloyd Jackson said.
Bullet holes in the dining room window, bloodstains on the family car, and a mother’s tears were reminders Monday morning of a shooting hours earlier that left Chanell dead and her 8-year-old friend hospitalized.
Chanell Berry and Ellen Garjo were playing with their Christmas presents about 8:30 p.m. Sunday when someone opened fire on their house. Chanell, who would have celebrated her 8th birthday Jan. 4, was killed; Ellen also was shot, but is expected to recover.
“My baby deserves justice,” Chanell’s mother, Kiana Johnson, said through tears as she addressed reporters outside her home Monday. She gestured toward the bullet holes. “Do you see they shot through my window?”
Sharonda Benson, the 23-year-old woman police named Sunday as a person of interest in the shooting, turned herself in to the Detroit Police 6th precinct about 3 a.m., Sgt. Cassandra Lewis said.
Lewis added a man believed to be connected to the shooting was arrested. Police reports identify him as a 22-year-old man who was arrested while riding in the backseat of a taxicab on Joy Road near Evergreen.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office had not yet received a warrant request as of late Tuesday morning, according to spokeswoman Maria Miller.
The shooting happened in the 16800 block of Steel, near McNichols and the Lodge freeway, following an argument, Assistant Detroit Police Chief Steve Dolunt said.
“This started over some family drama,” he said. “There was a family gathering, the new girlfriend confronted the old one, and said, ‘I’ll be back.’
“A few minutes later, shots were fired, and we’ve got a 7-year-old girl dead.”
According to police reports of the incident, Benson was at the house about two hours before the shooting.
In the seconds after the shooting, the family didn’t wait for an ambulance, putting the children into their Ford 500 and rushing them to Sinai-Grace Hospital. Bloodstains were smeared on the rear passenger’s side bumper Monday morning.
Chanell was pronounced dead at 8:40 p.m. Sunday, the police report said.
Dolunt was visibly upset Sunday, shortly after arriving at the crime scene.
“These kids were playing with their Christmas gifts and some (expletive) fires into their house? I’m furious. Who would shoot into a house knowing there were kids in there? If they’re a parent themselves, what does that tell you?”
“This wasn’t drug related, or gang related,” Dolunt said. “This was senseless.”
Family members have started a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs. By early Tuesday afternoon, the effort had raised more than $3,000.
Holly Fournier and Daniel Mears contributed.