CLEVELAND – The man accused of shooting into an SUV with a mother and three young children Sunday night, killing 5-year-old Jermani Brooks, was supposed to be arraigned Wednesday, but the case was continued.
The bailiff said the necessary paperwork was not ready.
Geoffrey Gurkovich, 32, was rescheduled to appear in court on Thursday morning instead.
He is charged with aggravated murder in Jermani’s death.
Noni Brooks, 33, was also shot, but survived and was listed in good condition Wednesday.
“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.
McGrath said Gurkovich’s girlfriend made an aggravated menacing complaint and that Gurkovich went to Crossburn Avenue Sunday night in retaliation.
“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 p.m. Sunday on Cleveland’s west side.
Police say Gurkovich was targeting a man who may have been at the home 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 2-month-old, an 8-year-old and 5-year-old Jermani.
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.
Gurkovic has a criminal record.
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.