A 12-year-old Connecticut girl has died after being shot in the head during a drive-by shooting that targeted three other people who were wounded in the gunfire, police said.
Secret Pierce, a student at Thurman L. Milner Middle School in Hartford, was inside a vehicle when shots rang out at about 8:45 p.m. Thursday, striking her and three other people, the Connecticut Post reported.
Secret was hit in the head and rushed to Saint Francis Hospital in critical condition, but succumbed to her injuries at 7 a.m. Friday, police said.
“This is a painful day in our community,” Mayor Luke Bronin told reporters. “I don’t have the words I want to say to Secret’s mom and loved ones … that we are all so deeply sorry. That we are with them today in grief, in prayer and with love.”
He said the three other people had “extensive firearm involvement and criminal history,” and called on them to cooperate with police because they likely know who opened fire.
“It is not acceptable not to share the information you know about who took the life of a 12-year-old girl,” the mayor said. “That’s not fair to her family, that’s not fair to her loved ones, it’s not fair to her memory, it’s is not fair to our community.”
Lt. Aaron Boisvert said authorities do not believe the shooters were aiming at Secret.
“At this point, it appears that the 12-year-old girl had nothing to do with the incident and was not the intended target,” Boisvert said.
Police who responded to the shooting found the wounded girl in a parked vehicle, while an 18-year-old injured man was on the sidewalk, Boisvert said.
The 18-year-old man was listed in stable condition, while the other two — a 16-year-old boy and a 23-year-old man — arrived on their own at the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, he said.
“We do have some footage that captured a vehicle flying by, went north on Huntington Street, right when the gunfire erupted,” Boisvert said. “We are actively working to decipher what vehicle that was so that we can put it out.”
Boisvert said police were unsure if anyone returned fire at the passing vehicle and if anyone inside it was injured.
Hartford Public Schools said in a statement that increased support services would be offered throughout the day Friday.
Mothers United Against Violence founder Henrietta Beckman said Secret’s death marks “a sad day in Hartford,” the Hartford Courant reported.
“That could have been another family walking their child because it’s a nice day. And you just never know when they’re going to be shooting. It’s crazy. And it’s unfortunate that people keep losing their lives,” she said.
“Not only in Hartford, but it is all over. Whatever we need to do to get these guns off the street, we need to do so,” Beckman added.
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