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Social Media Feud Between Aspiring Rappers Leads To 9-Year-Old Girl's Death, Police Say
Nine-year-old Brandoniya Bennett had been sitting on the couch watching TV when police say Tyrese Simmons mistakenly fired into her home thinking he was targeting a rap rival.
A social media dispute between two aspiring Dallas rappers ended with the death of a 9-year-old girl after one of the men fired a gun into the wrong apartment Wednesday, killing the young girl as she sat on the couch, police say.
The Dallas Police Department said Tyrese Simmons, 19, and his intended target are both rappers who had “used social media to disparage the other,” according to a statement from authorities.
“Both parties recorded rap songs and they dissed each other. That was the impetus that resulted in the homicide of a 9-year-old girl,” Dallas Police Maj. Danny Williams said, according to ABC News.
Authorities believe on the night of the fatal shooting, Simmons had gone to the home of his intended target to confront him, but when his target refused to come out, Simmons circled around the back of the apartment complex and fired into the wrong home.
Several witnesses who had tried to de-escalate the situation later told police that Simmons had threatened to “air this [expletive] out,” after his intended target had refused to come out and speak with him, according to The Dallas Morning News
Brandoniya Bennett had been sitting on the couch watching television when shots came through her door—fatally wounding her. The young girl had been getting ready for the first day of school and had recently gotten her nails done.
"She was sitting in her house. She felt safe. She was 9 years old. She would've started school today," Williams said. "Those are the people that don't think about safety because—as adults, as parents, as police officers—we’re supposed to make them safe. As community leaders, we're supposed to make them safe."
Simmons turned himself into police the following day and is now facing a capital murder charge.
Brandoniya’s grandmother, Tonya Elder, told the local paper she was glad Simmons decided to turn himself into police.
“Maybe he had a [change of] heart, a conscience or something,” she said. “But whatever it was, I thank him for doing that. But I don’t thank him for hurting and destroying my family.”
Brandoniya's family has described the 9-year-old as a free spirit who had been excited to start the fourth grade today, according to KTVT.
Simmons is currently being held on a $500,000 bond.