Aiyana Stanley Jones, 7 years old, was shot while she was sleeping on a couch when a Detroit police officer’s weapon went off as he was searching for a homicide suspect. Assistant Police Chief Ralph Godbee stated that the little girl was hit in the neck by a bullet and died at the hospital. “This is any parent’s worst nightmare. It also is any police officer’s worst nightmare. And today, it is all too real.” Krystal Sanders, aunt of Aiyana, said, “I heard boom! Detroit police! Pop! It happened so fast.”
Mertilla Jones, Aiyana’s grandmother, who was in the front room of the house said “I (saw) the light go out of her eyes. They killed my grandbaby.” Godbee said officers with the department’s Special Response Team set off a flash grenade as they entered the apartment with their guns drawn. The lead officer encountered Aiyana’s grandmother, who tussled with the officer when the officer’s gun went off.
Charles Jones, father of Aiyana, said “They came into my house with a flash grenade and a bullet. They say my mother resisted them, that she tried to take an officer’s gun. My mother had never been in handcuffs in her life. They killed my baby, and I want someone to tell the truth”
The officers had a search warrant and were looking for a 34-year-old man who was the suspect for the death of a 17-year-old boy named Jarean Blake. The suspect was arrested at the house.
“We have executed countless high-risk warrants where children have been present. This was a perfect storm for tragedy,” Godbee said. “This is a tragedy of unspeakable magnitude to Aiyana’s parents, family and all those who loved her. It is a tragedy we also feel very deeply throughout the ranks of the Detroit Police Department.”