MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Three people were charged Wednesday in the drive-by shooting death of a 6-year-old Alabama girl who was killed in her bed when up to 18 rounds were fired from a rifle through the home where she was sleeping.
Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin said the capital murder charges, which carry a possible death penalty, were filed against 18-year-old Aaron McDowell and 17-year-old Bernard Nix, both of Alexander City, and 25-year-old Stalandus Slaughter of Eclectic.
The slain child, Kenyatta Kendrick, was a first-grader at Eclectic Elementary School.
"She was asleep in her bed when she was struck by a bullet in her side," Franklin said. "Any homicide is bad, but you're dealing with a 6-year-old here."
Franklin said 19-year-old Darren Kendrick, Kenyatta's uncle and a senior at Elmore County High School, was sleeping in a nearby chair and was hit once in the left hip and once in the left ankle. He was listed in good condition Wednesday at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery.
Investigators recovered 18 spent rounds from the scene. The rounds are the same caliber as those used by an AK-47 or SKS rifle. Both are semiautomatic .30-caliber rifles.
Chief Deputy Ricky Lowery said the three suspects were arrested Tuesday and formally charged on Wednesday. Each is charged with one count of capital murder and one count of assault. Bond was set at $30,000 on the assault charges, but they are being held without bond on the capital murder charges.
Neither Lowery or the sheriff would suggest a motive for the shootings.
Lowery said he did not know if the suspects had hired attorneys. They are to make an initial court appearance Thursday before Elmore County District Judge Glenn Goggans, Lowery said.
Darren Kendrick's uncle, George Kendrick, lives near the house where the shooting occurred.
"I ran into the house and saw my nephew laying in the chair with half his foot blown off," George Kendrick told the Montgomery Advertiser. "He told me that his leg hurt. I looked over in the bed beside him and saw the baby. I went over to touch her and wake her up and said 'Boo, Boo,' and saw blood on the bed. I pulled the covers back and saw that she had been hit in the side."
George Kendrick said Kenyatta had received a toy Hummer vehicle for Christmas.
"I put it together for her Christmas Eve. And now she's gone. An innocent little baby asleep in her own bed," he said.
Eclectic is about 30 miles northeast of Montgomery.