PONTIAC, Mich. – The accused getaway driver in the deadly shooting of a seven-year-old girl will stay behind bars.
During an arraignment Tuesday (March 29), a judge denied bond for 17-year-old JaJuan McDonald. He will also be tried as an adult as he faces many charges, including a count of first-degree murder.
Prosecutors say McDonald was behind the wheel when seven-year-old Ariah Jackson was fatally shot as she was coming home from school.
McDonald’s attorney said the 17-year-old turned himself in on Monday.
Prosecuting attorneys requested McDonald to stay in the Oakland County Jail despite his age. The judge left the final decision up to another judge’s review in the future.
Three of what investigators refer to as 4-Block gang members are in custody and charged in the shooting.
Justin Rouser, the alleged shooter, is facing 10 felony charges. Daejion Bryant is charged with lying to a police officer during a violent crime investigation.
While this doesn’t bring back Jackson, community leaders like Pastor Douglas Jones of Welcome Missionary Baptist Church and Founder of Greater Pontiac Community Coalition said it’s a new dawn for Pontiac.
“The fact that they (investigators) were able to secure three of those persons right away, and when I say right away, I mean in a short period of time,” said Pastor Jones. “What that said is, ‘You know what, if we speak up, if we do something, we can stop this right away.’”
Jones said the community would also move forward as the case moves forward.
“What’s next is to say, we got to keep up the pressure,” Jones said. “We’re saying, ‘We got to stop all of this happening within our neighborhood. Let’s make our neighborhoods a safe neighborhood, then that makes it a safe city.’”
Jones mentioned Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, Pontiac’s Mayor, local organizations like Pontiac Universal Crimes, and many others are working together. He also said that the goal is to be proactive by ensuring local youth are involved in community programs instead of violent activities.