$5,000 reward for arrest in shooting death of 9-year-old Fresno girl

FRESNO, Calif. -- Police say they have not identified a suspect or a motive in a shooting between two groups that left an innocent 9-year-old dead.

Janessa Ramirez died Sunday night, less than an hour after police say a stray bullet hit her in the stomach, in West Central Fresno. The reward has now been increased to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

Janessa was with her mother Sunday night. According to police the two appeared at ease and in no hurry based on surveillance video taken moments before the shooting.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, "Her and her mother came to the liquor store to cash in some lottery tickets and they met some friends who were here that were outside of the laundromat. They walked over to those friends."

The police chief says about 300 yards away from where Janessa was standing, two groups got into a gun battle. The result, a stray bullet struck Janessa. So far, detectives have no suspects and no leads.

Chief Dyer added, "The real piece of information that we need is some eyewitnesses and the people that are involved in this incident to come forward."

Janessa was a fourth grader at Steinbeck Elementary. Her grandfather said she was a great student and even better person. Monday morning, he returned to the scene of the crime, heartbroken, and hoping for an arrest.

Janessa's grandfather, Frank Posas, said, "I just pray for wisdom for the officers to find out who done this. And I just pray that the people who took an innocent life, a precious little girl to come forward."

If witnesses won't talk, police are hoping technology will help at least identify a suspect or car used in the shooting and getaway.

"There's a significant number of businesses around here," said Chief Dyer. "The vast majority of them have video cameras. Our detectives are now going through each and every one of those videos to see if there is information that we can use to help solve this case."

Although detectives don't know for sure, they believe it's likely the shootout involved gangs. Police are encouraging the shooters to come forward and if not, for their friends to consider the young victim and her family, and turn them in.

Janessa's mother said her daughter was very generous and giving and she is trying to figure out how to honor her memory. She also said she has been overwhelmed by kind words and love during this tragedy.



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