Detroit police shot and killed a seven-year-old girl during an early morning raid of a home on the city’s east side Sunday morning. The child, Aiyana Stanley Jones, was struck in the head and neck area while sleeping on a couch at the home on Lillibridge Street.
In a Sunday morning press conference Assistant Police Chief Ralph Godbee said police were executing a “no-knock” search warrant for a homicide suspect in the two-apartment home. He said the police—members of the heavily armed Special Response Team—threw a flash grenade through an unopened window around 12:45 a.m. before charging in with guns drawn.
Godbee claimed the policeman’s gun discharged after he “had some level of physical contact” with the girl’s 47-year-old grandmother, Mertilla Jones. The police were not categorizing the shooting as accidental yet, Godbee said, “although we don’t believe the gun was discharged intentionally.”
Charles Jones, father of the slain girl, said he rushed from a back bedroom to see his mother being pushed through the door and another police officer carrying his bleeding daughter from the house. “They came into my house with a flash grenade and a bullet,” Jones told the Detroit News. “They say my mother (Mertilla Jones) resisted them, that she tried to take an officer’s gun. My mother had never been in handcuffs in her life. They killed my baby and I want someone to tell the truth.”
The young father added, “I want this story to be heard. This was a wrongful death.”
Mertilla Jones, who was arrested at the scene and released Sunday, told the Detroit News, “They blew my granddaughter’s brains out. They killed her right before my eyes. I seen the light go out of her eyes.” She denied police claims she had a physical confrontation with the cops, telling WXYZ-TV, “I never touched none of them. No one gave them any struggle. My grandbaby is gone. The Detroit police killed my granddaughter.”