A social media argument between two rappers upset about “diss tracks” led to a shooting at the wrong Texas apartment on Wednesday — resulting in the death of a 9-year-old girl instead of the intended target, according to police.
The Dallas Police Department said in a news release that 19-year-old Tyrese Simmons turned himself in Thursday and was charged with capital murder in connection with the deadly shooting. Online jail records show he is currently behind held at the Dallas County Jail on $500,000 bond as of Monday morning.
Brandoniya Bennett, 9, was killed Wednesday afternoon while she was sitting on a couch in her family’s apartment at the Roseland Townhomes in Dallas. Police said Simmons was at the apartment complex to confront another man over lyrics referencing Simmons in a rap song, after the two used social media to “disparage the other.”
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Witnesses told police they were able to break up the argument before Simmons told the other man he would be back to “air this place out,” FOX4 reported.
Simmons then returned and opened fire into the apartment where Brandoniya Bennett was staying, striking the 9-year-old, according to police.
At a news conference on Thursday before Simmons turned himself in, Dallas Police Major Danny Williams said that officers carried the 9-year-old to a squad car to try to get her to a hospital as quickly as possible — even meeting the paramedics on the way to get her medical attention — but it wasn’t enough to save her.
“Those are the people that don’t think about safety because — as adults, as parents, as police officers — we’re supposed to make them safe. As community leaders, we’re supposed to make them safe” he told reporters. “She was sitting in her house. She felt safe. She was 9 years old. She would’ve started school today. She got her nails done yesterday.”
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According to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by FOX4, Simmons “mistakenly fired at the wrong apartment unit after running around the building.”
One of the bullets “struck [Brandoniya] on her head causing her death,” the document states.
Dallas police said the two men involved in the initial confrontation are also in gangs, according to FOX4.
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Family members held a vigil on Friday that included a balloon release.
Brandoniya’s grandmother, Tonya Elder, told FOX4 she was thankful the suspect was behind bars, but that she was still focused on justice for the 9-year-old.
“I fault that bullet,” Elder said Friday. “So that means I have to fault the hand that bullet came from.”