RIVER ROUGE, Mich. – A 6-year-old child playing outside a River Rouge apartment complex was caught in the crossfire of a shooting and grazed by a bullet.
Fortunately, the young girl is expected to be OK. But her family wants to see the person responsible behind bars.
That 6-year-old girl was shot less than a mile away from the Renaissance Estates of Ecorse with a high-powered assault rifle. Residents in that neighborhood told Local 4 earlier this week that they live in fear because of constant shootings.
River Rouge police confirmed on Thursday, May 26, that the shooting is connected to that violence. In the middle of that violence now is a 6-year-old child.
Tonina Johnson should be at school, but instead, the first grader is at home recovering and reading get well letters from her classmates after she was shot.
“Everybody was playing and having a good time,” said Johnson’s father, Tony Kinney.
Kinney was watching his daughter play from his mother’s porch at the apartment complex on Polk Avenue and Eaton Street last Friday when shots were fired.
“It just happened so quick,” Kinney said. “She was on the ground, and that’s what really scared me.”
The bullet grazed Johnson, and River Rouge police confirmed that the bullet came from a high-powered assault rifle, with pieces of it still in her leg and foot.
“They said they couldn’t touch the fragments because if they touched them, she might die because of the arteries,” said Johnson’s mother. “To sit there and see this happen to a child playing outside in the neighborhood I grew up in.”
Johnson’s mother is upset and wants people to speak out. She says she plans on offering a reward of $1,000 for anyone who helps police make an arrest.
Cameras captured the shooting. Officials say two men with assault rifles jumped out of a car and opened fire. Authorities believe the incident is connected to a series of shootings that have taken place at the apartment complex.
All Kinney knows is that he and his family are lucky his daughter is alive today, and that no other children were hurt.
“I’m just glad God shielded all of those kids back there,” Kinney said. “All I can say is ‘God is good.’”
Police are not yet releasing a picture of that vehicle, and they say they are working on some leads in this case.
They are also working with other Downriver departments to get a handle on this surge of violence, which is believed to be gang-related.
We also know from our earlier reporting that the Michigan State Police are stepping in to help. Police are having a hard time getting people to come forward, but Johnson’s family is begging people to speak up to keep this from happening to someone else.
As for Johnson, her family says she’ll be visiting a specialist in the coming days to see how to address the bullet fragments in her foot. Surgery is a possibility.
The family has set up a GoFundMe for anyone who would like to help.