Cops: Houston girl, 8, shot dead after surviving car crash

DeMaree Atkins

KHOU

HOUSTON -- An 8-year-old Houston girl was shot to death following a traffic accident that resulted in gunfire, her mother and police said Saturday.

The girl and her mother were going east on a Houston roadway around 2 a.m. Saturday when their Honda Accord hit a southbound Pontiac, according to investigators.

Police said the Pontiac and a third car - a dark four-door sedan - were speeding when the Pontiac was hit by the vehicle the girl was in.

The girl’s mother, Latoyia Thomas, told KPRC-TV that she and her daughter, DeMaree Atkins, were on their way home when the crash happened.

“The light was green, and as soon as I got to the light it turned yellow - I couldn’t stop,” Thomas said.

The mother told CBS affiliate KHOU DeMaree didn’t realize they had been in a crash because the girl had been asleep.

“I said, ‘Baby, you OK?’ She said, ‘Yeah, I’m OK. What happened?’” the mother said.

Moments after the crash, the driver of the Pontiac jumped into the sedan, Thomas said.

But before it drove off, the sedan pulled up next to the Honda and a woman leaned out with a gun. Thomas said the woman began firing at her and her daughter.

It was unclear if the Pontiac’s driver and the shooter were the same person. Police continue looking for the drivers of the Pontiac and the sedan and say they are still trying to determine a motive.

“We don’t know if they were firing at each other and struck the vehicle, or if once the accident happened, they got angry, jumped out and they shot the vehicle,” Houston Police homicide detective David Stark told the Houston Chronicle. “We just don’t know.”

Between five and seven shots were fired, Stark said. Thomas’ daughter was hit by gunfire. She died later at a hospital. Police said Thomas was not injured.

“She was a good girl, honor roll student, full of life. They took my baby away from me, why?” Thomas said.

The girl attended MacGregor Elementary, and was an aspiring violinist, reports KHOU.

“I loved that little girl. She was my pride. My joy,” the girl’s mother told the station. “I can’t imagine life without her. I really can’t.”