MORENO VALLEY (CBSLA.com) — Sheriff’s deputies believe a weekend shooting in Moreno Valley that left a 6-year-old girl dead and her father wounded may have been gang-related.
The incident happened around 9:30 p.m. Saturday at a residence in the 25000 block of Harker Lane.
Tyrell Ricks Jr., 26, and his daughter, Tiana, had just arrived at a family member’s going-away party when two men pulled up in a black car, got out and came into the home’s driveway.
The suspects exchanged words with someone at the get-together and then opened fire.
“It’s appears that the family that was here, they were visiting. And, at some point, the two suspects walked up and then a shooting occurred. What transpired during that, whether there was some type of argument or whether the suspect and the victims knew each other, we’re still looking into that,” said Deputy Albert Martinez of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
A family member said Tiana was standing with her father in the driveway when the shots rang out.
The girl was struck in her shoulder. The bullet then went through her and hit her father in the leg.
Relatives said Tiana asked if her father was okay before gasping for breath and losing consciousness.
She later succumbed to her injuries at a hospital.
The girl’s mother, 24-year-old Marquia Macklin, is trying to come to terms with her daughter’s death.
“You don’t think that tomorrow is going to be the last day that you’ll ever see your child. Anybody who knows me knows that Tiana was my life. I lived for Tiana,” she said.
Macklin, a single mother, raised Tiana in Long Beach.
Tiana would spend every other weekend with her father and grandfather.
“My daughter is supposed to be turning seven on the 21st of this month. I have to plan a funeral instead of a 7-year-old’s birthday party,” Macklin said. “It’s ignorance to feel that violence is ever the answer to anything, especially you take away my child, my child was so innocent.”
Macklin worked her way through college and recently graduated from Long Beach State.
She said she had so many plans for her daughter. She would drive Tiana to Dooley Elementary in Long Beach, so she could be in an accelerated academic program.
She told CBS2’s Dave Lopez about her daughter’s last words to her.
“She’s just like, ‘Mommy, I love you more than the whole wide world.’ I listen to voicemails on my phone with the last time my daughter called me,” Macklin cried.
Meantime, family and friends gathered Monday night for a vigil at Tiana’s grandfather’s home in Victorville.
“She had her whole life ahead of her, you know? She didn’t leave us by her actions or her choices. Someone else made that choice,” said the girl’s grandmother, Shedralyn Ricks. “There are nothing but good things I can say about Tiana. We all loved her.”
The victim’s grandfather, Tyrell Sr., spoke with his grieving son, who came back from the hospital, by his side.
“You cats out there who did this. You two cats. It wasn’t three…two. Turn yourself in or may God have mercy on your soul,” he said.