2 arrested after 11-year-old killed by stray bullet entering Detroit home

Details behind shooting still unknown

A cheerleading and gymnastics student at George Washington Culver Academy was killed in a shooting at her home on Goulburn Avenue Saturday night.

A cheerleading and gymnastics student at George Washington Culver Academy was killed in a shooting Saturday night at her home on Goulburn Avenue in Detroit. Police are saying the home was not the intended target.

Two people are now in custody in connection to the death of 11-year-old Saniyah Pugh.

This was not a sleepover, as previously believed, nor was it a drive-by shooting, officials said. It was just a stray bullet coming into the back of the wrong house at the worst possible time: while it’s full of children.

“Saniyah made it here at 10 p.m. and she did not live past 10:30 p.m,” said Lawanda Melton, the victim’s grandmother. “It happened instantly. That fast.”

A family gathering on Detroit’s east side turned into extreme heartache, as 11-year-old Pugh was shot in a home with five other kids inside.

“All the other kids were laying around sleeping ... They were sitting in the bed next to each other and a bullet hit her in the back,” Melton said.

Melton tried everything she could to save the 11-year-old girl, but had no luck.

“I put a cloth on her back and held the (bullet) hole. I talked to her and told her to continue to breathe, and she lost life as soon as the police came through,” Melton said.

As investigators still comb the area for evidence, Local 4 was the first to tell the family that two arrests were made in the case, an adult and a minor.

“Jesus, yes! We didn’t even know about that. I didn’t know that,” Melton said. “I haven’t spoke with the investigators yet.”

The circumstances behind the shooting are still unknown. Charges are expected to be filed later in the week.

But life will never be the same for everyone inside the Detroit home, especially the other children who had to witness their loved one die.

“It’s horrible to have to lay there and all you can just see is the hallway where your granddaughter collapsed and lost her life,” Melton said. “My own children and grandchildren are afraid to come here and I don’t blame them.”

Melton said she’s planning to move out of the home.


About the Author:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.