Death of 7-year-old girl sparks change in Pontiac community

Meeting came days after Ariah Jackson was shot and killed while sitting in a parked car

A community meeting tonight in Pontiac to address a rise in gun violence; The meeting came days after seven-year-old Ariah Jackson was shot and killed while sitting in a parked car. The meeting was packed with residents wanting to know how they could make a difference what they could do themselves to end the type of senseless violence that took the life of a 7-year-old girl.

PONTIAC, Mich. – The meeting was packed with residents wanting to know how they could make a difference what they could do themselves to end the type of senseless violence that took the life of a 7-year-old girl.

A framed picture of Ariah Jackson sat at the table and weighed heavy on the hearts of the people gathered together in search of solutions.

Her mother was in the room with them as community leaders made their pitches to get residents on the sidelines in the frontline.

“To really come up with concrete steps of action to make sure that we prevent these kinds of senseless acts from occurring in the future,” said Pontiac Mayor Tim Greimel.

Residents wrote out questions for leaders who all agree that it isn’t up to the police to prevent the violence that has been plaguing Pontiac.

“The police can not save,” said a speaker. “We have to save us; we have to save each other.”

It starts with speaking up.

“That bullet wasn’t meant for her, but that’s who got it,” said another speaker. “Where are the people who did it? Who’s talking?”

Theresa Lee, a minister among those in attendance, left feeling encouraged about where to go from here.

“This event tonight was so powerful, so much info,” said Lee. “All we have to do is apply it, and I really believe we can see significant change in our community.”

The city of Pontiac plans to form an anti-violence commission. More on that is expected to be revealed next week.

But residents also wanted to know about a long-promised community center and where they could learn de-escalation techniques.

Those things are under consideration.

As for Jackson’s murder, they’re asking anyone with information to give the police a call.


About the Authors:

Pamela Osborne is thrilled to be back home at the station she grew up watching! You can watch her on Local 4 News Sundays and weeknights. Pamela joined the WDIV News Team in February 2022, after working at stations in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.