6-Year-Old Killed Days After Sibling Fatally Shot

Aylayna Ross | Image by Aylayna Ross family

A young girl was shot and killed in what Dallas police believe was an accident involving an unsecured firearm on Wednesday.

Officers responding to reports of a shooting in a townhome complex located in the 2100 block of North Fitzhugh Avenue on January 10 at about 2:40 p.m. discovered a 6-year-old child with a gunshot wound.

The victim, Aylayna Ross, was taken to a nearby hospital but ultimately died. While the incident is still under investigation, family members and neighbors told WFAA that Aylayna accidentally shot herself with an unsecured handgun.

Two adults and two young children were in the home at the time of the incident, all of whom were questioned. Damariya Sowels, 19, was arrested for allegedly tampering with physical evidence as well as unrelated warrants for undisclosed charges.

Aylayna’s brother, 14-year-old Ah’bralen Rider, was killed in what investigators believe was celebratory gunfire ahead of New Year’s Eve.

As previously covered in The Dallas Express, Ah’bralen was one of two teens found shot in the 3100 block of Harry Hines Boulevard shortly before 5 a.m. on December 29. While both were hospitalized, Ah’bralen died of his injuries. Police arrested a 16-year-old male suspect on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and manslaughter in connection to this incident.

Ah’bralen’s wake and funeral are scheduled for this weekend, according to the obituary.

Neighbors mourned the siblings’ deaths — both of which occurred in Council Member Jesse Moreno’s District 2 — and expressed sympathy for the family.

“God has bigger plans behind it all. God is the plan behind all of this. I’m trying not to cry. I’m trying to hold it in,” said neighbor Markia Boyd, according to CBS News Texas.

As of January 10, Dallas had already logged six homicides, according to the City’s crime analytics dashboard. Last year saw a 15% hike in the murder rate from the year prior, with 246 people killed.

Although a City analysis called for 4,000 officers to properly maintain public safety in Dallas, the Dallas Police Department fields only around 3,000.

The effects of this officer shortage are most apparent in Downtown Dallas, as extensively covered in The Dallas Express. Downtown Dallas sees considerably higher rates of crime — roughly sevenfold — than downtown Fort Worth, which is patrolled by a special police unit and private security guards.

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