Elkhart Girl Dead, 12-year-old Juvenile in Custody

By: Robert Borrelli
By: Robert Borrelli

11-year-old Aaliyah Joiner died just before 2:30PM Tuesday afternoon at a Fort Wayne hospital from her injuries suffered Monday.

Her 12-year-old cousin is in juvenile detention facing a preliminary charge of criminal recklessness.

In a situation family members believe was an accident.

After leaving Hawthorne Elementary, Aaliyah and her cousin would often go down the block to their grandparents place.

Elizabeth royal is their cousin.

Elizabeth said, "They were really close, they hung out almost every day because they both went to the same school and after school they would go to my grandma's house to hang out together."

It was at that home Monday afternoon that 11-year-old Aaliyah was shot in the head, allegedly by her 12-year-old cousin.

Elizabeth added, "I guess it was an accident, they were playing around with it, the gun."

That cousin appeared in Elkhart County juvenile court and was charged with criminal recklessness.

The hearing was closed to the public by the judge, who said that the "ultimate conclusion may be that the shooting was accidental."

Bill Wargo Sr. of the Elkhart County Prosecutors Office stated, "The juvenile court magistrate found probable cause to believe that an act was committed, that if it had been committed by an adult it would have been a crime. She has ordered the young man be held for one-week in the county detention center, juvenile detention center, a week from today at one o'clock there'll be another hearing to decide what the next step is."

The prosecutor's office will review police reports to decide whether the 12-year-old boy will be charged or not.

The grandparents declined to comment.

Brandon Royal, a cousin of both the victim and the accused, said, "She was friendly and nice. She had a whole bunch of friends at Hawthorne. Yeah, she loved basketball."

While Aaliyah Joiner died this afternoon at a Fort Wayne hospital, her cousin will remain in the Elkhart County Juvenile Detention center until next week's hearing.

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