10-Year-Old Girl Killed in Likely Road Rage Incident

] A 20-year-old man was arrested on Friday for allegedly shooting a 10-year-old girl in her driveway April 3. Joshua Gonzalez was charged with homicide in connection with the shooting death of Summer Bell Brown, the Arizona Republic reported. During a press conference on Friday, Phoenix Police Department (PPD) officials said Gonzalez shot and killed the 10-year-old and injured her father, Dharquintium Brown. Summer, known as Summer Bell by her family, was reportedly driving home with her father, mother, and sister when they spotted a white Ford F-150 four-door pickup truck following them. As the family pulled into their driveway, the Ford pulled in behind them and its driver opened fire. Summer and her father were shot and transported to the hospital in extremely critical condition, the Arizona Republic reported. Gonzalez drove away following the shooting.

Dharquintium Brown told reporters that his 10-year-old daughter was sitting right behind him when she was shot, ABC News reported. "She died in front of me," he said. Summer Bell’s mother, Taniesha Brown, told ABC News that she is heartbroken over her daughter’s death. "There was no reason for her to be taken like this. I wish it was me instead of my baby. This nightmare's going to be playing in my head every day.... I just really hope she's at peace."

Police said they found Gonzalez’s truck five miles from the scene of the shooting; its wheels and tires had been changed to distort the vehicle’s appearance, according to the Arizona Republic. Police found a handgun inside of Gonzalez’s garage, Phoenix police Sergeant Vince Lewis told reporters on Friday. Gonzalez was arrested and booked into Maricopa County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder and aggravated assault.

"This tragedy came down to critical information and tips in solving this case. The community involvement and the compassion truly assisted in bringing justice for Summer and her family," Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said, according to the Arizona Republic. This is not the first time Gonzalez has had a run-in with the law; the suspect reportedly has a history of violent criminal acts, police told the publication. These incidents happen too often, said Andrew Patrick, media director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “There are states that make it too easy for people to get weapons and inflict harm on a community,” Patrick told The North Star. “We have to hold our elected officials responsible to make it harder for these people to have access to guns.”

Josh Sugarmann, the executive director of the Violence Policy Center, said that Arizona allows people to carry a concealed firearm outside of their home without a permit. “Horrific incidents like this happen all too often, and show how a gun can turn a confrontation into a homicide. Arizona allows its citizens to carry a concealed firearm outside the home without even requiring a permit,” Sugarmann noted in a statement to The North Star. “Today, a child’s life has been lost and a family has been devastated, all because of the presence of a gun.”

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been launched to raise money for Summer Bell’s funeral costs. The fundraiser, which was launched on Thursday, has raised over $21,000 of its initial $5,000 goal.

“Summer was a beautiful young girl full of life, highly intelligent, funny, and always busy with her sister Autumn. Summer will be greatly missed by countless family and friends,” the fundraiser states. “We have setup this GoFundMe account to assist with the funeral expenses and relieve some of the financial strain they will face during this devastating time.”

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.