A 12-year-old girl on Long Island has died after being struck in the head by a stray bullet. Dejah Joyner was standing in the living room of her Hempstead home Friday evening when the bullet came through the window, fired from the street. The gunman has not been located.
At a vigil at Antioch Baptist Church, according to the New York Times, a relative said Joyner was bringing a plate of food to her brother when she was shot. She died a day later of her injuries.
A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed on the same street the Joyners live on in 2013; the man accused in his murder was later acquitted. (The shooting made nationwide news after a large riot between warring friends and family members broke out the during the man’s initial arraignment.)
The Nassau County District Attorney’s office told NBC 4 they’re working to find the killer, offering a $75,000 reward. Unnamed neighbors, meanwhile, told the news station “shots have been fired at the girl’s house in the past.” And neighbor Alex Cruz, 29, claimed to the New York Daily News that he took video of the shooting, saying the gunman had been trying to hit a young man who was entering the family home. Dejah Joyner reportedly has four siblings. Cruz claimed to have repeatedly seen someone firing at the home, the last time just five weeks ago: “Authorities should have done something before this happened, because this has been going on for months now.”(He said he had turned the purported video over to the police.)
Mayor Wayne Hall told the News he’s planning a community protest for Tuesday evening, saying the little girl’s murder shows the need for stricter gun laws. Joyner’s relatives described her to media outlets as a sunny kid who loved going to church and doing her nails. Her father could be seen clutching one of her favorite Hello Kitty dolls on his way to her vigil.
Photo of Dejah Joyner via Nassau County Police Department; screengrab via CBS.