Girl, 7, dies after drive-by shooters target family in driveway of their Pontiac home

Child shot in back of head Friday after arriving home from school

A 7-year-old girl has died after a drive-by shooting in Pontiac.

PONTIAC, Mich. – A 7-year-old girl who was shot in the head by drive-by shooters while arriving home from school in Pontiac Friday has died, officials said Saturday.

According to police, at about 4:50 p.m. on March 18, a mother was driving her daughters and nieces home from school, and they had just arrived at home when an orange SUV pulled up and fired at least six shots at them in the area of Wilson Avenue and Paddock Street.

The mother was struck with a grazing shot to the head, officials said. Her 7-year-old daughter, who was sitting in the backseat of the car, was shot once in the back of the head.

The 7-year-old victim, identified as Ariah Jackson, was taken to the hospital Friday and listed in critical condition. The girl was pronounced dead a short time later, according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

Update: Suspected gunman arrested, driver sought in fatal shooting of 7-year-old Pontiac girl

The mother reportedly declined treatment at the hospital and was released. Authorities say that three other girls, ages 6, 7 and 11, were riding in the vehicle at the time of the shooting, but they were not injured. One of the girls is Jackson’s sister, and the other two girls are their cousins.

The 30-year-old mother told deputies that she saw an orange SUV with two males inside drive by her car as she waited to pick up the children at the bus stop. Once the children got in the car, the mother drove them to her residence and pulled in the driveway, and that’s when the orange SUV approached and began firing, officials said.

The passenger of the SUV was reportedly dressed in black and fired rounds while hanging out the window. Investigators say they have identified at least one person of interest in connection with the shooting.

Police have not released details about a possible motive, but Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard did reference gang activity in a press release Saturday afternoon.

“All too often we see gang members seeking to perpetrate violence against rivals strike innocent victims in the process,” Bouchard said. “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.”

No other details have been provided at this time. Investigators are encouraging anyone with information to contact the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

Stay with Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit for updates.

Related news: Police shoot armed man while responding to domestic assault at Redford home

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.