Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against a reputed gang member accused of gunning down a 6-year-old girl at a family party, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office told NBC4 Tuesday.
Keandre Narkie Johnson was ordered in December to stand trial for the slaying of Tiana Ricks and the shooting of her 26-year-old father, Tyrell Ricks, who took a bullet to the pelvis.
On Sept. 7, the pair was at a family celebration in Moreno Valley for a college-bound cousin. They went into their relative's open garage, where people were gathered, when two men sprayed bullets into the crowd from the driveway.
Johnson was arrested Sept. 16 in Hemet -- about 90 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles -- more than a week after the 6-year-old Tiana Ricks was shot and killed.
He has been charged with murder, attempted murder and participation in a criminal street gang, according to a Riverside County District Attorney's office statement. The charges also carry special-circumstance allegations, which would lengthen his sentence if he is found guilty.
If he is convicted of first-degree murder in the 6-year-old’s death and a jury finds that the killing was gang-related, he could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
The young girl's fatal shooting shocked the region and prompted people on social giving websites, and rappers Snoop Lion and The Game, to donate money to her family to cover funeral costs.
The Game, whose name is Jayceon Terrell Taylor, said he read about the girl's death while in Australia and immediately felt moved to help.
"This very sad story hit me in a place nothing ever has," he wrote on Instagram at the time.
Hundreds of mourners attended the little girl’s funeral.