Aiyana Jones, a 7-year-old Detroit girl with a head full of pigtails and bright eyes, was sleeping on the couch of a relative’s home May 15 when a flash grenade suddenly seared her skin. Seconds later, a cauldron of police officers spilled into the apartment, stunning the girl’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, who allegedly began tussling with police. In later interviews, the 46-year-old woman said she had no physical contact with the officers.
Nonetheless, a gunshot rang out, piercing Aiyana’s neck and ending her life.
Aiyana’s father, Charles, had reportedly wrapped his only daughter in her favorite blankets moments before her death.
“She had a lively, free spirit,” Charles Jones told The Detroit News.
The series of events leading to Aiyana’s untimely death are equally tragic, according to police reports.
Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee said police entered the Detroit home in the early morning hours in search of a man suspected in the slaying of a 17-year-old boy the day before.
“This is a tragedy of unspeakable magnitude to Aiyana's parents, family and all those who loved her," Godbee said in an interview. "It is a tragedy we also feel very deeply throughout the ranks of the Detroit Police Department."
Police say the 34-year-old suspect was found during a search of the building.
The officer whose gunshot struck Aiyana has not been publicly identified. However, Godbee said he is on routine administrative duty while state police investigate the incident.
As the second-grader’s family awaits new details, her father said nothing will erase the gory images of Aiyana’s final moments
“Her blood was everywhere and I was trying to stay calm, but nobody would talk to me,” Jones told the media. “None of them even tried to console me.”
On May 18, an attorney representing the girl's family filed lawsuits in state and federal court.
The attorney, Geoffery Fieger, said the lawsuits claim negligence, civil rights violations and a conspiracy to conceal the civil rights violations.
A Facebook community has since been created in her honor. The page – "She Has A Name: Aiyana Jones" – had almost 3,000 followers by Tuesday morning.