In Shadow of 9-Year-Old’s Murder, Dallas Looks for Answers

Funeral for murdered 9-year-old Brandoniya Bennett is set for Friday as mayor forms task force and police chief returns to work

The friends and family of 9-year-old Brandoniya Bennett will gather to lay her to rest Friday after the beloved child was shot and killed last week in Old East Dallas.

Her funeral is set for 11 a.m. at New Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church at 1932 Dennison St. in Dallas.

Police arrested Tyrese Simmons on Aug. 15 and police say he was arguing with another person because in rap songs they "diss" each other, police said.

Police say there was an argument and though the fight was initially broken up, witnesses told police one of those rappers along with a few other individuals returned to the location. They knocked on the door of an apartment of the person they were looking for, but when that person did not come outside, the suspects walked around to the back.

The shooters then fired into the wrong apartment and struck Bennett.

Bennett’s murder and a deadly summer prompted Dallas ministers and community leaders to call for a Week of Peace with a number of prayer gatherings across the city.

Mayor Eric Johnson also announced he would launch a new Violent Crime Task Force which would work independent of the Dallas Police Department.

"I'm creating a new task force ... called The Mayor's Task Force on Safe Communities. Its mission will be to seek holistic and data-driven solutions for communities disproportionately affected by violent crime," Johnson said.

The mayor said it would then be up to city leaders to consider and implement the task force's recommendations.

Heading up the task force are three co-chairs: Alan Cohen, president and CEO of The Child Poverty Action Lab; longtime civic leader and educator Rene Martinez and the Reverend Dr. Michael Bowie, Senior Pastor at St. Luke Community United Methodist Church.

Johnson said he planned to name the remainder of the task force soon and that there would be no members of law enforcement on the force for a reason.

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