Man charged with killing Pontiac girl, 7, faces murder, nine other charges
The man police believe shot and killed a 7-year-old Pontiac girl as she rode in her mother’s vehicle on the way home from school last week faces a first-degree murder charge and is being held without bond, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.
Police continue to look for the 17-year-old driver of the vehicle they say was used in the killing and are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Justin Jayshon Rouser, 19, who police said is a known member of the violent 4-Block gang, was arrested Wednesday in Taylor by sheriff’s detectives and agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the sheriff’s office said in a release.
More than 20 detectives and agents executed five separate search warrants on homes in Pontiac and Troy. On Wednesday detectives learned Rouser was likely hiding in a Troy home. He was a passenger in a vehicle seen leaving the residence and when he was arrested a short time later he was wearing a ski mask that police believe he was wearing to conceal his appearance.
Rouser is also charged with four counts of assault with intent to commit murder and five counts of possession of a firearm while in the commission of a felony, the sheriff’s office said.
Pontiac District Judge Michael Martinez on Friday ordered Rouser held without bond in the Oakland County Jail. He faces mandatory life in prison without parole if convicted on the murder charge.
“I am proud of our team and grateful for the assistance of ATF agents as they worked seamlessly to quickly identify the suspects in this horrific and senseless murder of an innocent child,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said. “The wrong people are afraid in our community.
"We must make those who carry and use weapons illegally and perpetrate this violence the ones who are fearful of the certainty of long prison time," Bouchard said. "Children coming home from school should never be afraid. These suspects must be held accountable.”
Police said Ariah Jackson was returning home from school with her mother at about 4:50 p.m. on March 18 and pulled into the driveway outside the family's home near Paddock and Wilson. A passenger dressed in black hung out the window of a late model orange Chevrolet Blazer and fired eight shots at the family's vehicle, Ariah's mother told investigators.
Deputies took Ariah to the hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later, according to authorities. Her mother 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 in the vehicle but were not injured.
There is no known connection between Rouser and Ariah or her family, according to the sheriff's office.
Police said the driver of the SUV involved in the shooting, JaJuan Calvin McDonald, 17, of Pontiac, is a 4-Block gang member who faces the same charges as Rouser including first-degree murder.
A reward of up to $10,000 is offered for information leading to his arrest. McDonald is considered armed and dangerous.
The Sheriff’s Office and ATF are jointly offering the reward with Crime Stoppers. Anyone with information as to McDonald’s whereabouts are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAKUP. Tipsters remain anonymous.
Daejion Markese Bryant, 21, of Troy, the driver of the vehicle Rouser was in when he was arrested Wednesday, was also arrested, police said.
Bryant – who police said is also a 4-Block gang member – was questioned earlier in the investigation, the sheriff's office said. He is charged with lying to a peace officer during a violent crime investigation, a four-year felony.
Martinez arraigned Bryant Friday. His bond was set at $100,000 cash and he is being held in the Oakland County Jail. Bryant had been on bond for delivery/manufacture of a controlled substance and resisting and obstructing a police officer, the sheriff's office said.
Both Bryan and Rouser have probable cause conferences scheduled for April 5.