Salisbury businesses offer reward to find person who shot, killed 7-year-old girl

SALISBURY, N.C. — A 7-year-old girl died and her grandmother was injured early Sunday morning when someone fired shots at their house in Salisbury, police said.

The Salisbury community has started the movement #JusticeForAyanna to try and find the person who shot and killed the little A'yanna Allen.

When officers responded to the shooting around 4:20 a.m. on Harrel Street, they found A’yanna and her 56-year-old grandmother, Shirley Robinson, with gunshot wounds.

Robinson had been shot in the leg and was taken to the hospital. A’yanna died at the home.

Robinson is asking whoever is responsible for her granddaughter’s death to turn themselves in to police.

She stood in the rain Sunday, at a loss over the senseless shooting death of her granddaughter.

Robinson was on crutches and had just returned home from the hospital when she spoke with Channel 9.

“She was my joy," Robinson said. “She was my everything. My everything.”

(A'yanna Allen)

Her kindergarten teacher Michelle Weaver said the school was in shock Monday morning.

“Horrible because she’s not here and won’t be,” Weaver said. “We lost her and it’s not right. It’s not right”

Police were called to the family’s home after unknown shooters fired more than a dozen gunshots into their home.

Robinson said she and her granddaughter were asleep in one bedroom and her nephew was in the living room at the time.

“All I could hear was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,” Robinson said.

She jumped out of the bed, initially unaware she had been shot in the leg. She said she called 911 and then quickly realized A’yanna had been fatally wounded. Her nephew was unharmed.

“That was a 7-year-old child,” Robinson said. “Innocent. We were laying in the bed asleep. What are we going to be doing at four or five in the morning? We were asleep and here comes the devil.”

Another relative told Channel 9 that they believe the family may have been targeted in retaliation after 22-year-old Sharod Mathis was shot in the parking lot of a nearby bar just hours earlier.

Mathis died at the hospital after being shot.

Channel 9 checked with Salisbury police, but officials said they could not confirm a connection between the two homicides, although they are looking into it.

"The whole community is tired of it," said Phillip Bradshaw with Bradshaw's Bail Bonding Company. "The problem is getting people to come forward."

Bradshaw is trying to help generate leads in the case. His business, with the help of an area restaurant, is offering $1,500 dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of A'yanna's killer. Bradshaw said he's already received more than a dozen calls.

Salisbury councilmember Kenny Hardin told Channel 9 he believes the homicide is part of a much larger issue in the city.

"Whether people want to acknowledge it or admit it, we have a gang problem," Hardin said.

A’yanna was a second-grader at Koontz Elementary School. Robinson said she loved her friends and family and would often ask her about her father, who was also tragically shot and killed in 2009.

A crisis intervention team was at the school Monday morning to assist any students, staff or families for as long as needed, the school district said.

Robinson said that whatever the motive for the shooting was, she and A’yanna were innocent and a child is now gone.

“She was a joyful child. A joyful child,” Robinson said.

No arrests have been made in case. Anyone with information is urged to contact Salisbury police.

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