Suspect in Death of 9-Year-Old Girl Surrenders to Police

The deadly shooting happened when a gang member fired into the wrong apartment, police say

A 19-year-old man surrendered to police after being named as a suspect in the shooting death of a 9-year-old girl.

Tyrese Simmons was jailed Thursday in connection with the shooting, which happened in Old East Dallas Wednesday night when a person fired into an apartment they thought belonged to someone else, police said.

“There’s no way in the world you can tell me that this is the way we’re supposed to live, and we’re supposed to accept the things that happened to this 9-year-old girl yesterday," said Dallas Police Major Danny Williams.

“We believe the argument was due to the fact that the person that was arguing and the witness he was arguing with are rappers. In their rap songs they diss each other," said Williams.

Though the fight was initially broken up, witnesses told police one of those rappers along with a few other individuals returned. 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 9-year-old girl, now identified as Brandoniya Bennett, police said.

“I heard the pops, like three or four, pop, pop. A lot of people screaming and hollering, holding the baby in her arms and then the police car took her away,” Neighbor Marilyn Weaver said. 

Bennett was transported to Baylor University Medical Center, where she was pronounced deceased, police said.

People in the apartment complex said they knew the Bennett well and that she was excited about the start of a new school year.

A woman whose daughter lives in the apartment complex said Bennett and a group of friends recently had their nails painted so they would look nice on the first day of school.

"My daughter was telling about two days ago that she did about five or six little girls' nails over here for school," Nicki Ra said. "So when we just pulled into the apartment complex and they were saying 'What happened?' my daughter just broke down crying and I was like, 'What?' And she was like, 'Mom that was one of the little girls I just did her nails last week school.'"

Police are asking witnesses to come forward.

“We’re reaching out as a department. We’re reaching out as a community. We’re reaching out as a city. Saying if you see something, say something. This is our call to action," said Major Williams.

Investigators said they believe the shooting was gang related.

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