Suspect Charged in Murder of 5-Year-Old Girl

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CLEVELAND--Police arrested a Cleveland man accused of shooting into an SUV with a mother and three young children Sunday night, killing five-year-old Jermani Brooks.

Her mother Noni Brooks, 33, was also shot, but survived and was listed in good condition Tuesday.

"The Brooks family was not the target at all. They happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Police identified the suspect as 32-year-old Geoffrey Gurkovich.

"He is the boyfriend of a girl who made a report that evening regarding an aggravated menacing complaint. As a result of that complaint, he went looking for the person identified in that aggravated menacing complaint and decided he would just fire numerous rounds into this vehicle," McGrath said.

It happened just after 11 Sunday night on Cleveland's west side.

Police say Gurkovich was targeting a man who may have been at the home on Crossburn Avenue where the Brooks family was parked in the driveway in their SUV.

"The driver of the vehicle had gone onto the residence to collect some money that was owed to him. While he was inside the house, that's when the suspect drove up, saw the vehicle, got out of his car and indiscriminately fired those rounds into the vehicle," McGrath said.

Inside were Noni and three children: a two-month-old, and eight year-old and five-year-old Jermani.

"I heard about five to seven gunshots and I seen an SUV speeding down the street," neighbor, Tyler Piwinski, said.

Police say Gurkovich drove off from the scene.

Jermani was killed. Noni was hospitalized.

The two other children were not hurt.

Police say they tracked Gurkovich to a home in Newburgh Heights. He was arrested Tuesday morning without incident during a traffic stop.

"I'm just happy they caught him and I hope he suffers," Piwinski said.

Gurkovich, who has a criminal record, was charged with aggravated murder, Tuesday night.

A vigil in honor of Jermani will be held on Thursday, which would have been her sixth birthday.

A fund has been set up in Jermani’s name; a donation can be made at any KeyBank.

Read more on the story HERE.

8 comments

  • D.

    What a stupid tragedy. The idiot shooter should get a taste of his own medicine. And why are people collecting money at 11 pm with small children in a vehicle? If the children had been home in bed, where they belonged, none of this would have happened. I’m sorry, but the mother is to blame for having her children out so late.

  • Jamie Ulisky Smith

    How sad this story is. There are lots of questions for us all. Including yesterday I saw many asking WHY a person would drive 2 seriously injured people to the Hospital himself without a 911 call. Would proper medical care had mattered in the young girls outcome. No way could anybody attend to her bleeding body while racing to the hospital. I hope CPD has addressed this part of their investigation. That was a STUPID thing to do , not waiting for paramedics to arrive. Was there something to hide from the police ? My Prayers to this young girls Family.

  • Unbelievable

    I cannot believe anyone would put any blame on the family. It is their right to be anywhere they want to be whenever they want to be and not expect to be shot at and have their child killed. It was not a school night, there are so many reasons they could have needed that $ right away. The blame goes to the sicko tattooed freak that shot innocent people.

  • james baker

    Really sad about the little girl’s death…so senseless. Also, very poor judgement on the part of the parents to take children along to collect a gambling debt. Children should never be placed in any position which could potentially endanger them. Hopefully, the idiot who fired the shots will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!

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