One charged, two in custody in murder of 9-year-old girl; More arrests likely

CLEVELAND-- One of the suspects in the murder of a 9-year-old girl on Cleveland's east side is now facing charges.

Devontae Nettles was charged with murder on Friday. Court records showed the 19-year-old was driving the car as others fired shots.

Devontae Nettles (photo from Cleveland police)

Saniyah Nicholson was sitting in her mother's car outside of a boxing club at Lee Road and Cloverside Avenue Wednesday night when shots rang out.

Cleveland police said there were two groups of people exchanging gunfire across the roadway. Two males on foot exchanged gunfire with two males in a vehicle.

Saniyah was shot in the head.

Saniyah Nicholson (Family photo)

Police say both of the occupants of the vehicle -- Nettles and a 17-year-old male-- have been arrested.

One of the males on foot, a 17-year-old male, was arrested; police are working with prosecutors to obtain a warrant for the second male on foot who is 16 years old.

Police say, at this time, there is no known gang affiliation.  They continue to investigate whether or not anyone else was involved.

Two of the juveniles in custody were scheduled to appear in court on Friday, but the hearing was delayed as investigators continue to sort out of the details of the shooting.

City of Cleveland officials spoke about the case at the annual "Safe Summer" news conference Friday at Forest Hills Park. Cleveland police said detectives are pursuing more arrest warrants and some people could be charged with aiding and abetting.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cleveland Division of Police at 216-623-5464 or Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County at 216-252-7463.

Continuing coverage of this story here

Jen Steer June 22, 20181:01 pm

Cleveland safety officials are expected to talk about the case during their “Safe Summer” news conference, which should begin momentarily. 

Jen Steer June 22, 20181:10 pm

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams says there are officers dedicated to all the parks, pools and rec centers around the city. They determined there was increased crime at about 10 rec centers so they increased the number of officers and cut that crime rate to nearly zero.

Jen Steer June 22, 20181:11 pm

Chief Williams says there have been two arrests, that’s two juveniles and one adult, in the murder of 9-year-old Saniyah. “We are actively seeking arrest warrants.”

Jen Steer June 22, 20181:16 pm

Mayor Frank Jackson says the only way to have a safe community is to have full participation in the community. He references 2015 when three young children were killed in shootings

Jen Steer June 22, 20181:23 pm

The first arrest was made around 5:30 p.m. Thursday. After that arrest, the U.S. Marshals were able to follow leads, leading to two more arrests and homicide detectives pursuing more arrest warrants. 

Jen Steer June 22, 20181:23 pm

Cleveland police say others could be charged with aiding and abetting.