A 12-year-old Alabama girl was killed in her sleep when a barrage of bullets was fired into her family’s home in an apparent drive-by shooting Wednesday, police said.
Audriana Pearson, who would have turned 13 next month, was struck by gunfire shortly before 2 a.m. at her family’s home in Birmingham, police said.
She was pronounced dead at the scene by firefighters, authorities said.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin told al.com that 17 bullets were fired into the home. Three persons of interest have been taken into custody.
Woodfin said Pearson was sleeping when she was struck by a bullet.
“Pearson was all set to enjoy her Christmas break. But while she slept in her bed last night, her life was robbed from her. She was the victim of a drive-by, another one of our children stolen from us due to the intentional and reckless behavior of others,” Woodfin tweeted.
Police Sgt. Monica Law said the deadly incident appeared to be a drive-by shooting.
The mayor said he spoke to the girl’s mother in the wake of the shooting. Pearson, known to her loved ones as Minnie, would have celebrated her 13th birthday on Jan. 17, the mayor said. She had been hoping for a pink iPad or AirPods for Christmas.
“There is very little to be merry about in households where laughter has been silenced by gunfire, and that breaks my heart,” the mayor wrote.
Pearson was a seventh-grader at Erwin Middle School, where principal Dr. Angela Bush described the 12-year-old as a “bright young lady with a big future.”
“She was well-liked and enjoyed socializing with her friends and favorite teachers,” she added.
School superintendent Walter Gonsoulin expressed his condolences to Pearson’s family and addressed those responsible for the drive-by shooting directly, saying that their “reckless actions” were inexcusable and robbed the child of a chance to grow up.
Police said just hours after the shooting officers acting on investigative leads and tips from the community apprehended three people following a car chase.
“We believe these people are connected to the homicide,” Sgt. Law said.
The detainees have not been named as of Thursday, and no charges have been filed.
“Children deserve to be safe at home with their families and enjoying the holiday season. They do not deserve to be gunned down while at home where they expect comfort and safety,” a police statement about the shooting read.