Police charge man with murder of 10-year-old Black girl in road rage incident

Police charge man with murder of 10-year-old Black girl in road rage incident
Summerbell Brown 10, killed by road rage driver (Image source: GoFundMe / “Summer Mellody Bell Memorial Fund”)

An evening ride turned tragic for an Arizona family on their way home after an alleged road rage incident left a 10-year-old girl shot to death and her father injured in the driveway of their home.

The road rage incident occurred on the night of Wednesday, April 3, 2019, as Dharquintium Brown, 30, and his family, were being followed by a man in a white F-150 pickup truck. According to police, Brown pulled into the driveway of his home, and the pickup truck pulled in behind the car. The driver of the pickup fired a spray of bullets into the rear of the family and sped away. Brown suffered a non-life-threatening injury, but his daughter Summerbell, 10, was struck by the gunfire and killed.

As investigators searched for the suspect, the police department released a composite sketch of the alleged gunman as well as surveillance video and a description of the vehicle — a white Ford F-150 four-door pickup with dark-colored trim on the bottom — and asked for help from the public and the local and national media to find the child’s killer.

According to Phoenix police Sgt. Vince Lewis, investigators received numerous calls to the Silent Witness phone line, and credit a tip with ultimately leading police to the truck and a person of interest at a residence about five miles from the crime scene.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, April 5, Lewis said a search warrant was served on the home, and police were able to identify the truck as the one used in the shooting “even after modifications were actively made to change the vehicle’s appearance.” At that same residence, Lewis said investigators also found a gun inside the garage, which “has been linked through forensic evidence to the homicide.”

Police arrested Joshua Gonzalez, 20, who is in jail charged with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault. Lewis described Gonzalez as a man with an “extensive” and violent criminal history.

Police charge man with murder of 10-year-old Black girl in road rage incident
Joshua Gonzalez, 20, has been arrested and charged in the shooting death of 10-year-old Summer Mellody Bell Brown (Image source: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

Brown’s wife and other daughter were not injured in the attack, and Dharquintium Brown is expected to recover. The family has launched a GoFundMe campaign titled “Summer Mellody Bell Memorial Fund” and, as of Saturday, has so far raised more than $17,000 from donors.

If you’d like to help the family, go to www.gofundme.com/d25pcd-Summer-Mellody-memorial.

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