STATESVILLE, N.C. — Police said seven people are facing charges in connection with two possible drive-by shootings that left an 8-year-old girl dead and two other children injured in Statesville.
Statesville Police Chief David Addison announced on July 10 that two 17-year-olds were arrested in the murder of Ah’Miyahh Howell.
That announcement came after three men and another 17-year-old were charged the day before in the case.
Donnell Tiaijan Ellison was on the loose but was arrested July 15, police said.
Police said the two drive-by shootings happened within the same neighborhood on June 28.
It all started around 7 p.m. on Wilson Lee Boulevard. Police said 8-year-old Ah’Miyahh Howell and 9-year-old Tariq Lowery were outside when someone in a white Mercedes began shooting.
Both children were hit by gunfire and rushed to the hospital, but Ah’Miyahh did not survive. Tariq survived but was seriously injured. Family members said Tariq was Ah’Miyahh’s cousin.
Ninety minutes later, and just around the corner, officers heard gunshots and responded to the second scene on Newbern Avenue, where a 7-year-old boy was shot.
Witnesses said someone in a white car, possibly a Honda Accord, opened fire, hitting Prince Ramseur. He was taken to the hospital but was later released and is OK.
(WATCH BELOW: ‘It was burning’: 7-year-old boy recovering after being struck by bullet)
Police asked the community to help solve the crime, but no one came forward. Several people were outside when the shooting happened, police said.
However, police officers and deputies found the two vehicles involved and charged six people connected to the shooting that killed Ah’Miyahh and hurt Tariq.
The following people were charged with murder:
- Nasir Cor’lee Turner, 18, of Mooresville
- Sayqwon Kalil Miller, 19, of Statesville
- Donnell Tiaijan Ellison, 19, of Statesville
- A 17-year-old juvenile (name withheld)
They were also charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, felony conspiracy and discharging a weapon into an occupied property causing serious injury.
Officials did not say what the two 17-year-olds arrested were charged with.
‘It was burning my back’
Prince was recovering from the gunshot wound when veteran crime reporter Glenn Counts spoke with him and his family the day after the shooting.
“It was burning,” Prince said. “It was burning my back.”
Prince and his 14-year-old sister, Malika, were outside playing when gunfire erupted around them.
“It was coming from both ways,” Malika said.
Malika grabbed Prince and took him inside, but she didn’t know her brother was shot.
“He was sitting in my lap and he was like, ‘It hurt,’” Malika said. “And I was like, ‘What hurt?’ And he was like, ‘My back.’”
She lifted up his shirt and saw where a bullet had gouged out a path near the back of his shoulder.
“After I seen it, I just lost it,” Malika said. “I started crying and I started screaming. I was shaking.”
Their mother, Tracy Ramseur, wants the person who opened fire found and arrested.
“You just opened fire like that in broad daylight with kids?” she said. “That’s a cold-hearted person. I feel real lucky. All night, I didn’t sleep, all last night.”
‘They are taking out innocent life. It’s got to stop.’
Neighbor Anthony Caldwell told Channel 9 he was at his home on New Bern Avenue getting ready to have a barbecue with his wife and grandchildren when he witnessed the shooting.
“All of a sudden, we seen two cars speeding by. It sounded almost like fireworks,” Caldwell said. “It was high-caliber weapons. I was in the military, and I know what weapons sound like. I came around the corner, and I heard a bunch of adults screaming and crying talking about, ‘The kid, the kid, the kid.’”
The children were not the intended targets, police said.
“So many of us turn and look the other way but these are our kids -- these are babies,” Caldwell said. “I have grandkids. They could easily be one of mine or one of yours. We need to come together as a community. Whatever the disagreement is, their first mean of attack is their firearms. They are taking out innocent life. It’s got to stop.”
Channel 9′s Dave Faherty spoke with Ah’Miyahh’s family earlier on Tuesday. They said they want answers.
Family members showed Channel 9 the damage inside the house, where at least a half dozen rounds struck the home. They said this isn’t the first time someone has shot at their home -- they said someone fired shots at the house two months ago.
Ah’Miyahh’s aunt, Candra Howell, who lives at the home, said the girl was a happy child who loved to dance and make YouTube videos.
“She was playing and all the children started running,” Howell said. “She was trying to run, trying to get upstairs, trying to get here, trying to get in the house. She was trying to make her way back here to run in the house, but she couldn’t do that.”
Channel 9 also spoke to Miyahh’s great-grandmother Penny Kimbrough, who lives down the street. She said she heard the shots but didn’t know Miyahh had been hit.
“God seemed fit to take her. He loved my grandbaby more than me so he took her home,” Kimbrough said.
(WATCH BELOW: Statesville Police Department provides update after two drive-by shootings left one child dead and two others hurt)
Statesville Police Chief David Addison said his officers have worked non-stop, trying to determine the motive behind the shootings and who is responsible.
Investigators believe they may be connected, saying a white Mercedes and white Honda Accord were seen together prior to the shootings and later leaving the area.
Police believe there are eyewitnesses, but they are not coming forward.
“When I hear someone say that ‘I’m not a snitch,’ you’re basically saying that my community doesn’t matter,” Addison said.
Police are still looking for the white Honda Accord seen at the second home. The police chief asked the community to come together and help solve this case, making the argument that if this was your child, what would you do?
City councilwoman urges community to help police after drive-by shootings leave one child dead, two others injured
Violence -- in the community that Doris Allison calls home -- is what made her run for Statesville City Council.
“In 1992, I lost my brother to murder. In 1994, I lost my brother to murder, so this is heartfelt and we need change,” Allison said. “We have had a lot of losses through gun violence and murder. It seemed like people were being killed every other weekend.”
Allison said the new Statesville chief of police has been working with the community to stop crime and has been working to connect with neighbors.
She said that relationship is one key to turning things around.
“We do have a police chief who has monthly meetings with the community, but nobody shows up,” Allison said.
Now, she said she is calling on the community to work with police to proactively prevent and to help them investigate Monday’s drive-by shootings that injured three children, killing one of them.
“It’s up to them to bring the information to the forefront,” Allison said. “We can’t do it by ourselves. Council can’t do it alone. We can’t, the city council, city police -- they have to do it together.”
(WATCH: Drive-by shootings leave one child dead, two others injured in Statesville)
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