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Police in Phoenix have arrested an allegedly road-raging motorist accused of fatally shooting a little girl after he followed the family’s car to their driveway and subsequently sprayed it with bullets.
Joshua Gonzalez was taken into custody in connection with the slaying of 10-year-old Summerbell Brown, the City of Phoenix Police Department announced at a Friday press conference. He was booked on one count of first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault, police said.
Police say Gonzalez was driving a white Ford F-150 pickup truck on Wednesday when he shot at the Brown family car in their own driveway.
“The victim family had just arrived at home in their car when the suspect, who had been following them for a short distance, opened fire on the vehicle, striking it numerous times,” Sgt. Vince Lewis said at the press conference.
Dharquintium Brown, Summerbell’s father, told reporters that he tried to confront the suspect prior to the shooting.
“I got out of my vehicle,” he said, according to ABC News. “I asked him, ‘What’s going on?’ And he just got to firing.”
Both Summerbell and Dharquintium Brown were transported to the hospital; the girl died while her father was discharged with a non life-threatening injury, police wrote in a Thursday statement.
Gonzalez was eventually arrested after police circulated a sketch, which subsequently led to a tip, authorities said. That led officers to the truck, which was similar to the one caught on surveillance footage.
“It’s safe to say that he did try and alter the truck’s appearance,“ Chief Jeri Williams told reporters Friday.
The vehicle and the firearm allegedly involved in the shooting were recovered, police said. They have yet to release a motive for the crime, however.
Meanwhile, the Browns’ neighbors said they want to organize a vigil for Summerbell in order to both mourn and raise money for the family.
“Hopefully bring awareness to the community — the neighborhood — for everybody to get involved,” Rosanna Castro told the Arizona Republic. “If we’re all united and stand up, maybe this thing will stop. The shootings will stop.”
Though overall homicide rates have dropped in Phoenix from 2016 to 2018, the Arizona Republic in March found that shooting deaths have actually increased in the city during the same time period.
"This is heartbreaking ... that I lost my baby like this," mother Taniesha Brown told reporters, according to ABC News. "There was no reason for her to be taken like this. I wish it was me instead of my baby,"
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