Gunman at large after killing 5-year-old
Posted: January 21, 2014 - 3:57am

CLEVELAND (AP) — Police on Monday sought information on a gunman who killed a 5-year-old girl and shot her mother in the head while the two of them sat in a vehicle in a residential neighborhood.

Authorities identified the slain girl as Jermani Brooks. Her mother, 33-year-old Noni Brooks, was hospitalized in fair condition.

The two were shot Sunday night on Cleveland's west side. Police said a man in a green SUV pulled up to their vehicle, got out and opened fire before fleeing.

Police tracking the vehicle and the man surrounded an address in the city briefly on Monday with SWAT team negotiators, but the man wasn't there.

In a statement, the victims' family urged the public to come forward with information.

"The family would like privacy at this time during the mourning and loss of a beautiful child, Jermani Brooks, whose life was taken at such a young age," it said. "Please keep the family in your prayers for the recovery of her mother, Noni Brooks. If anyone knows the whereabouts of the person of interest PLEASE come forward."

City officials said police were continuing to investigate.

"Every homicide has an impact on our community, but that kind of violence toward innocent children is particularly heinous," the city said in a statement.

Friends and relatives have organized a vigil for Jermani on Thursday, which would have been her sixth birthday.

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