SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A suspect has been arrested in the shooting death of nine-year-old Makaylah Brent.
“Where is the value in kids’ lives? Where is it?” said Debra Cummings, Makaylah’s cousin.
Cummings thinks about 9-year-old Makaylah’s aunt, who without hesitation used her body as a human shield, grabbing her daughter and Makaylah as bullets began flying at Mama Marks Park on Oct. 3.
“And I try to think about what could have possibly been going through her mind while her body is rolling, trying to get these bullets that’s meant to kill,” Cummings said.
One of those bullets hit Makaylah, ending her life right before her family’s eyes. Her aunt who shielded her, her six-year-old cousin, and another adult were also shot.
Police arrested 21-year-old Laise Hands Tuesday in connection to the shooting. He was already in custody for charges unrelated to the drive-by shooting. Records show he was also arrested in February for unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon and evading police.
Sacramento City Councilmember Allen Warren said the coronavirus pandemic was a factor in Hands getting out of jail in February.
“People are getting out of prison because of COVID. Or if you haven’t committed certain crimes then the criminal justice system is a little more lenient now then they would be under normal circumstances,” Warren said.
The District Attorney’s Office says Hands is expected to be arraigned in court on Thursday. He is facing several charges including attempted murder and murder.
Cummings says what happened to Maykalah is another wake-up call to make sure kids aren’t dying while just being kids. She says complete justice is making sure no mother, father, cousin, uncle or aunt has to jump in front of bullets to protect children from being killed again.
“Mothers are risking their lives after giving birth from here. She’s holding her baby and she’s holding her niece and she’s taking it,” she said.
Police are still investigating the incident and ask anyone with information about the deadly shooting to contact the Sacramento Police Department immediately.
City councilmembers have committed to making park renovations and implementing additional safety measures across District 2. That includes installing security cameras, lights, and developing gang intervention task forces.
The council also plans to name the pool in Mama Marks Park after Makaylah Brent.