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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Fatal Detroit shooting of baby gang-related, police say


Diamond Salter said she was asleep in her west-side home early Monday morning when shots rang out. As her son, Delric Miller IV, dozed nearby on a living room couch, bullets pierced windows and walls, striking the 9-month-old. "I grabbed my baby and wrapped him up in a blanket … and ran in the basement," said Salter, 19, who also has a one-year-old daughter who was staying with a relative. "I thought he was asleep because that's how I left him. I thought he was alive … I started feeling for him, and he wouldn't wake up." Someone fired 37 rounds from an AK-47 assault rifle at about 4:30 a.m. into the home in the 8400 block of Greenview Avenue, near Tireman. Police Chief Ralph Godbee said the shooting was gang-related. Godbee said police have details about the shooting he didn't want to release to the public, but that investigators have a handle on what happened. "We know who they are," Godbee said. "This was not a random incident." Salter said there were eight people in the house, including three children, when the shooting took place. She called the incident "senseless" and said she doesn't know why someone opened fire on their home. Salter added that she's no stranger to violence; she was inside her home at a different location years ago when a similar crime occurred: Someone started shooting at the house, and her sister, who was also inside, was killed. "I got to be strong, because I still have a daughter to live for," Salter said. The boy's maternal grandmother, Cynthia Wilkins, 39, added: "They killed a precious baby." Delric was rushed to Sinai-Grace Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival following the shooting. Police believe that shots could have been fired from a van after a witness reported that a light-colored van sped away from the scene. "It's an act of God that more people weren't killed," Godbee said. A pink and purple motorized cart sits in front of the home and shattered glass glittered on the front porch Monday morning. Neighbors said there were usually 10 to 15 people living in the home over the past year, including three to four children. The boy's father, Delric Miller III, was not at the home when the shooting began. He arrived early Monday afternoon and stayed for approximately 20 minutes. He said his son loved to play with his toy hammer. The last gift Miller gave his son was a multicolored teething ring for Christmas, he said. When Miller left the home Monday afternoon he said, "I need some time for myself." Neighbor Diane Fryst, 67, was coming out of the bathroom when she heard the shots. Fryst said she was worried about ricochets, so she immediately laid down on top of her two rescue collie dogs to shield them from harm. "The shooting didn't last more than a few minutes," said Fryst, who has lived in her home (formerly owned by her parents) for 66 years. "It sounded like an AK-47 because of the 'pop, pop, pop' sound that it made. I've heard shots around here before so you get to recognize the sound." According to Fryst almost a dozen people, including four to five children, lived in the home where the shooting occurred. "I've never seen any trouble over there before, no violence," Fryst said. This is the second killing of a youngster in Detroit within the last three weeks. Twelve-year-old Kadejah Davis was shot to death on Jan. 31 when a gunman fired through the front door of the home in which she was living with her mother. Police arrested Joshua Brown, 19, and his mother, Heather Brown, in the incident. According to police, Joshua Brown came to the home of Kadejah's mother, Amanda Talton, on Ferguson Street and demanded the return of a cellphone Talton had found earlier at her tax preparer's office. Police said he fired shots through the door after Talton told him she didn't have the phone and closed the door. Brown has been charged with first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder and felony firearm. His mother, Heather, has been charged with accessory after the fact. Godbee has recently unveiled initiatives aimed at stemming the violence. Earlier this month, he moved his department to a "virtual precincts" model, in which officers who manned the city's police precincts were reassigned to patrol.

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