Suspect Arrested in Dallas 9-Year-Old Girl’s Shooting Death

Tyrese Simmons, 19, is wanted for the murder of 9-year-old Brandoniya Bennett.
Tyrese Simmons, 19, is wanted for the murder of 9-year-old Brandoniya Bennett. iStock/DallasO75219
The Dallas Police Department said Thursday afternoon that they've identified a suspect in the shooting death of 9-year-old Brandoniya Bennett. She was shot and killed Wednesday evening as she sat in her apartment on Munger Avenue in Old East Dallas.

According to Dallas Police Maj. Danny Williams, the first link in the chain of events that led to the girl's death was a dispute between two rappers over a series of "diss" tracks. The rappers — police identified one of them, Tyrese Simmons, as a suspect — got into an argument at the Roseland Townhomes. Simmons turned himself in to Dallas County Jail Thursday night.
click to enlarge Tyrese Simmons - DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT
Tyrese Simmons
Dallas Police Department

After bystanders broke up the fight, Williams said, Simmons, 19, returned with a gun, looking for his rival. When Simmons' intended target didn't come to his apartment door, Simmons ran around to the back of the complex, Williams said, and shot into what turned out to be the wrong apartment, hitting Bennett. Police are still looking for additional potential suspects. 
Police and paramedics rushed Bennett to Baylor University Medical Center, but she died shortly after reaching the hospital.

"(Kids) don't think about safety because as adults, as parents, as police officers, we're supposed to make them safe," Williams said. "There's no way in the world that you can tell me this is the way that we're supposed to live and that we're supposed to accept the things that happened to this 9-year-old."

Community activists gathered at the apartment complex Thursday to call for action.

"When one family hurts, we all hurt," Maurice Ash said. "We have to learn how to live together, to learn how to march together, how to pray together ... We have to stop the gun violence." 
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young