Family mourns death of 4-year-old girl as new details on shooting are released

AKRON, Ohio-- Anjanette Swain is devastated, mourning the death of her four-year-old granddaughter who was shot and killed sitting in the back seat of a car along with her three sisters late Friday.

Swain, who was not there at the time, says the girls, ages 7, 6, 4, and 2 were with their mother, De'Azha Swain, and Juanita Brown, the grandmother of the two oldest girls.

De'Azha drove to Mercer Avenue to confront a boyfriend who police say she had a disagreement with earlier in the day.

"He actually took a PlayStation, some money, and some keys from her apartment and left. So later that evening she goes over and she is going to retrieve her belongings," said Akron Police Lieutenant Rick Edwards.

Edwards says Swain and the boyfriend, Darnell Bitting, 31, actually exchanged words through the windows before Swain started smashing them out.

That's when Bitting came to the porch with what has been described as an assault rifle.

"She, (Swain) jumped off of the porch, started running for her car when he opened the front door, came out on the porch and fired a round from an assault rifle in her direction. She wasn't struck, but the bullet actually went through the car and struck a four-year-old, her four-year-old daughter in the head, sitting in the back seat of the car," said Edwards.

Police say Juanita Brown moved from the passenger seat into the driver's seat and drove the car a few blocks away before she realized Janaya had been shot in the head.

Speaking with FOX 8 on Monday, Anjanette Swain described the four-year-old as a joy to be around.

"She was lovable, just sweet; I mean, the prettiest smile, very smart and intelligent to be a four-year-old and it just hurts us deeply -- all that happened," said Anjanette Swain.

She struggled to share a message from the grieving family.

"These young people on the street with these guns, they don't realize five minutes, a moment in your life, now you have destroyed ours for a lifetime. They need to stop it," she added.

Anjanette Swain says she has been criticized on social media by people who believe she was the grandmother in the car, insisting that she would never have taken her granddaughters into that environment.

On Monday, the Swain family was also asking people not to contribute to a GoFundMe page that had been created to help them.

Bitting was arrested on Saturday following a manhunt that involved the US Marshal's Service and other agencies.

When he was arrested at a home on Corley Street in Akron, authorities say they confiscated a duffel bag with numerous weapons, ballistic body armor and a hand grenade they now say was a "dud."

Police on Monday say they still had not recovered the weapon that was used to kill the little girl.

Bitting, who has previous felony convictions, should not have had access to weapons.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in Akron Municipal Court on Tuesday on charges that include murder and having weapons under disability.

Police believe he will ultimately face many additional charges.​

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