JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WJXT/CNN) - Police in Florida have arrested one “violent felon” and are still looking for another, who they say got into a gun battle that left a 5-year-old girl dead.
Sheriff Mike Williams says four people, including two “violent felons,” were fighting Monday over $180 in the parking lot of a Jacksonville, Florida, convenience store when gunfire broke out, killing 5-year-old Kearria Attison and injuring her sister, 4-year-old Paris West.
“A group of individuals that know each other had a conflict, and [it] immediately goes to gunfire,” Williams said. “So, we lost a child’s life over $180."
The girls’ grandparents say the two were sitting in the backseat of their mother’s car outside the store when the shootout happened and caught them in the crossfire.
Kearria underwent surgery to have a bullet removed from her head, but she died, family members say. Deputies described Paris’ injuries as minor.
“Her heart stopped beating, and that was the second time. So, she said, after five minutes of trying, they said my grandbaby gave up,” said Andrew West, Kearria’s grandfather. “My grandbaby is not coming back. That was one of my happiest grandbabies."
West says one of the people involved in the fight ran up to the girls’ mother and said he was sorry before fleeing the scene.
“He just left. A coward leaves instead of staying there and waiting for the police, so they can know what’s going on,” West said.
Williams said Tuesday that man has been questioned and is cooperating with the investigation.
The sheriff’s office issued arrest warrants Tuesday for two men – 31-year-old Johnathan Hall and 50-year-old Tom Everett Jr. – in relation to the shooting. Both have prior arrests, and Williams said Everett’s rap sheet is 15 pages long.
Everett was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon. He is charged with second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Hall is still wanted on a charge of aggravated battery, a charge that will likely be upgraded due to Kearria’s death. Anyone who knows Hall’s whereabouts is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers.
Investigators also developed two persons of interest who are being sought for questioning. They have not yet been identified.
Kearria’s death caused outrage and sadness throughout the community, and several people, including a local rapper, have reached out to the family to offer to pay for her funeral. A memorial was put in place outside the convenience store.
West says he’s thankful for the many people who are reaching out to help the family get through this difficult time.
“We appreciate it, and we thank you all for that because that’s the kind of love families need," he said.