The family of a 10-year-old girl who was gunned down on her way to an ice cream truck is desperate for answers about who is responsible for the shooting.
Makiyah Wilson had just returned from the pool and was outside her apartment in a neighborhood courtyard when Peter Newsham, Chief of Police for the Metropolitan Police of Washington D.C., said five masked men pulled up in a black Infiniti sedan.
Four gunmen exited the car and "indiscriminately fired over 70 rounds in multiple directions" before driving away, Newsham said.
The spray of bullets left Wilson dead and four others, including her 18-year-old sister, injured.
Now her family wants to find the men responsible for the killing.
"They're cowards," her mother Donetta Wilson said, according to The Washington Post. "I just want justice for my daughter."
She described her young daughter as a little girl who loved art and puzzles. She was about to begin her fifth grade year at the D.C. Scholars Public Charter School, and is remembered by her teachers as a voracious reader who was always curious and liked to ask questions, The Post said.
"Makiyah, she was special," Pandora Wilson, a relative, told NBC 4. "She loved football, she loved all kinds of sports."
Wilson had just celebrated her 10th birthday and can be seen in a video of her party wearing a tiara and colorful tutu. Neighbors say she was friendly and playful.
But that life was cut short July 16 at about 8 p.m.
In the aftermath of the shooting, which witnesses described as "war zone" according to The Post, Makiyah Wilson lay dying. Her mother held the young girl in her arms in her final moments.
"The whole time she just kept saying 'Mommy, calm down. It's burning.'" her mother told NBC 4.
The senseless death has ignited a community who wants to see justice for the perpetrators of the crime.
"We have to solve this homicide and solve it just as quickly as possible," D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a press conference held Monday.
The local police and FBI have joined together to offer a $45,000 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to the prosecution of the men responsible.
Newsham said the department has already received a lot of tips so far, in part because of efforts in the community to encourage those who know something to come forward.
"Detectives have made a significant amount of progress in this case," he said at Monday's news conference. "I want to thank everybody so far that has come forward with tips and information but we are going to continue to ask for the public's assistance."
Newsham said the department was making progress "in a very positive way" but still lacked the evidence necessary for probable cause.
A motive has not yet been determined, but one theory is that the shooting may have stemmed from a dispute between neighborhoods he told reporters.
The vehicle that has been identified as the car used in the shooting was recovered in Prince George's County, Maryland days after the shooting. It had been stolen and police are now working to look for any forensic evidence left behind, Newsham said.
Wilson's uncle, D.C. area rapper Mike D'Angelo set off on what was expected to be a 46-hour walk Monday from the Clay Terrace neighborhood where his niece was killed to Philadelphia, where a friend was shot and killed just two weeks ago.
D'Angelo hopes the trek will bring awareness to the deaths and encourage others to chose a life without violence.
"Walk for peace, walk for justice, walk for equality. Never give up on your dreams," he said when he began the long walk, according to WUSA 9.
Artist Dermont Pinder also chose to honor the young victim by painting a portrait of 10-year-old.
"I apologize on behalf of this cruel world we live in...to the parents and family of a beautiful baby girl," he wrote on Instagram along with a picture of the painting.
While Mikyah's family wants answers, they know justice won't undo the tragedy.
“My baby, she is never coming back," her mother told Fox 5. "So it’s never going to be okay. Never."
Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the tip line at (202) 727-9099.
[Photo: Metropolitan Police of Washington D.C.]
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