7-year-old Pontiac girl killed in gang-related drive-by shooting, police say

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

A 7-year-old Pontiac girl on her way home from school was killed Friday in what police say was a gang-related drive-by shooting.

Officials with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office said Ariah Jackson was struck in the back of the head while sitting inside a parked car driven by her mother and occupied by three other children around 4:50 p.m.

Deputies took Ariah to the hospital in a patrol car and she was pronounced dead a short time later, police said. The mother, 30, was injured when a bullet grazed her head but declined treatment at the hospital and was released. Three other girls, ages 6, 7, and 11 were not injured.

Detectives have identified at least one person of interest in the shooting. They have asked anyone with information to come forward in the case.

"All too often we see gang members seeking to perpetrate violence against rivals strike innocent victims in the process," Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a statement."This is completely unacceptable, and the tragic loss of this child will not be tolerated. If you carry or use a gun illegally in furtherance of criminal activity, we are coming for you."

Police said just before the shooting, Ariah's mother pulled into the driveway outside the family's home near Paddock and Wilson.

While Ariah was still in the back seat of the car, a late model orange Chevrolet Blazer occupied by at least two males drove by and fired at least six shots, police said. The passenger was dressed in black and hanging out the window when he fired.

The mother told deputies she was waiting at the bus stop for her two children and two nieces and noticed an orange SUV drive by. She picked up the children and headed home.

As she pulled into the driveway, she told police she noticed the vehicle approaching and then multiple shots were fired at her vehicle. Ariah’s father took her from the car into the home shortly before police arrived.