HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Authorities on Long Island are offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in connection with the shooting of a young girl in Hempstead.
As CBS2’s Steve Langford reported, family and community members were praying for Dejah Joyner, 12 – who also goes by Daisy – after she was struck in the head by a bullet from the street while sitting inside the living room in her own home.
“My heart is broken. I’m asking our residents — whoever has done this to come forward — I’m asking our residents, if you know who did it, call the tip line,” said Hempstead Village Mayor Wayne Hall.
It was Friday around 5 p.m. when the single gunshot went through the plate glass window, authorities said.
“The child was shot once in the brain and she’s currently in grave condition,” said Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter.
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The gunman escaped, while Dejah’s family sat at her bedside at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
“It’s been rough, you know, looking at my granddaughter laying there like that,” said Dejah’s grandfather, James Miles.
Witness Alex Cruz lives across the street. He described what he saw.
“He got out of the car. He was about to enter the door,” Cruz said. “They miss him and they hit the girl.”
Cruz said the intended target of the shooting was a young man who is no stranger to gun violence.
“He got on the floor; tried to miss the bullet like he always does,” Cruz said.
Cruz said he had seen the intended victim targeted several times before.
“This block has not been immune to violent incidences,” Commissioner Krumpter said.
Almost two years ago right next door to Dejah’s home, a teenager was shot and killed on the sidewalk.
“I’m actually moving,” Cruz said.
Cruz said because of what he has seen and survived so far, he and his wife and three children are leaving immediately.
“I need to pack and leave, because I’m afraid it’s just going to get worse,” Cruz said.
The victim’s next-door neighbor, James Green, had contempt for the gunman.
“May you rot in hell,” he said.
Green also had certain disdain for authorities, who he believes left violence spiral out of control.
“The people that should be listening to advice — they’re not listening,” he said. “They don’t care.”
Neighbors were alarmed over the violence.
“I’m very disappointed at this happening,” said Lamont Johnson.
And community activists are outraged. They also showed up at the home to provide support for the victim and her family.
“They said a 12-year-old. If you hear a 12-year-old has been shot, to me that’s an urgency. So I jumped in my car and came over,” said Barbara Borum.
“I live here over 30 years and it’s a terrible tragedy for the young girl to get shot in the head,” said Reginal Lucas, president of the Hempstead Coordinating Council of Civics Association.
Police worked overnight at the home on Dartmouth Street near Westbury Boulevard in Hempstead, searching for clues.
More Suffolk County police officers are being sent to Hempstead to apprehend the suspect, Hall reported.
Crime Stoppers is putting up $50,000 of the reward money and the other $25,000 is being offered by Hempstead officials, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.
Joyner goes to school in the Hempstead School District. Officials there said they will provide counseling to her classmates.
Nassau County police asked anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 244-TIPS.