City Says 5-Year-Old’s Killer ‘Will be Held Accountable’

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CLEVELAND--A five-year-old girl and her mother are both shot in the head Sunday night. The child dies; her mother survived.

Neighbors called police just before 11:30 p.m. Sunday after they heard gunshots on Crossburn Avenue on Cleveland's west side.

According to relatives, Jermani Brooks died. Her 33-year-old mother, Noni Brooks, was also shot in the head and is listed in fair condition at MetroHealth Medical Center.

"I heard squealing tires and me and my uncle heard five to seven gunshots and I look outside and I seen a car, like a truck and he sped off and he turned off his lights," said Tyler Piwinski, who lives across the street from where the shooting happened.

Cleveland police said the mother and daughter were sitting inside a red SUV in the driveway of a home on Crossburn.

They said a man got out of a green SUV and opened fire on them.

"I heard the gunshots like pop, pop, pop, pow. I looked out my window, I seen the one truck pull off real fast and I seen the red one and I heard the mother screaming and yelling and then I seen the red one pull off erratically and drive off after it," said neighbor, Larry Finley.

Police said they found the suspect's vehicle parked in the 12,000 block of Kirton Avenue.

Then, investigators were led to a home in the 3,500 block of Riverside Avenue where the SWAT team surrounded a home, but no one was found inside.

People who live in the neighborhood where the shooting happened said the area is usually quiet and they are stunned. "It's sad. It's just tragic," said Finley.

The victims' family released a statement which reads, in part: "The family would like privacy at this time during the mourning and loss of a beautiful child, Jermani Brooks. Please keep the family in your prayers for the recovery of her mother Noni Brooks. If anyone knows the whereabouts of the person of interest PLEASE come forward."

"My heart goes out to them. I couldn't imagine what they're going through today, this morning, waking up and knowing that the little girl is gone," said neighbor, Crystal Selvage.

The City of Cleveland released the following statement: "Every homicide has an impact on our community but that kind of violence toward innocent children is particularly heinous. The individual who shot and killed five-year-old Jermani Brooks last night on Cleveland's west side will be held accountable. The Cleveland Division of Police Homicide Unit continues to investigate the murder of five-year-old Jermani and the felonious assault shooting of Noni Brooks."

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Cleveland police.

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

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