DETROIT (WWJ) – Crisis counselors were on hand Monday at Sterling Heights High School as police continued to search for a man who fatally shot a 15-year-old girl outside a Detroit home.
Police say Jada Rankin was shot in the stomach early Sunday morning while celebrating her brother’s birthday at her grandmother’s house on Ardmore Street, near Grand River and Schoolcraft, on the city’s west side.
Speaking to WWJ’s Vickie Thomas on Monday, the grandmother explained it happened after a driver speeding by the house was told to slow down.
“Her brother asked the guy, you know…’Hey man, stop traveling so fast down the street,’ and the guy cracked his door open and just shot, shot seven times and hit Jada in the stomach,” Minnie Cobb Hill said, through tears.
Rankin — a straight-A student who lived with her parents in Sterling Heights — died a short time later at a local hospital.
Another relative struck a pole and was injured while driving after the shooter, according to police.
Rankin’s aunt said simply that the family is “devastated.”
Neighbors are shook up over what happened, including Diane Hodges, who described Rankin as “smart and lovable.” She called the shooting a senseless tragedy.
“I think that it’s just the younger kids just have so much malice in their heart, they just have no values — no sense of value for life,” Hodges said. “There was no need for this. No need at all.”
At school on Monday, friends decorated Rankin’s locker with photos along with balloons and ribbons in her favorite colors, purple and pink.
What message does Cobb Hill have for the shooter, still at large?
“I just want to say…have mercy on his soul; that’s all I want to say,” she said. “When you know God all you can do is forgive.”
Witnesses described the shooter as a black male in his 20s. He was driving a 2007 silver Chevy.
Anyone with information about this crime should call Detroit police or the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.