Jada Rankin: Teen gunned down in Detroit street by angry driver
Jada Rankin was a straight-A student at Sterling Heights High School, in the suburb of Detroit, Michigan. The 15-year-old went into the city on Saturday to visit family.
“Although Jada lived in Sterling Heights with her mother and father for many years, since 2008, she visited this house every weekend,” Minnie Cobb told The Detroit News. Also, it happened to be the day of a birthday party for Jada's older brother, Chris, who turned 23. Instead the family is planning Jada's funeral.
Jada "was the sweetest child, so smart and so good,” Cobb was quoted as saying. “She was a young woman reaching for the stars. She had three older brothers and her mother prayed for a girl. Jada was the baby of the family and the only girl.”
Detroit police said an angry driver was speeding up and down the street where Jada's relatives lived. Chris shouted at the driver, asking him why was he driving so fast on a residential street. The driver, in a case of bizarre road rage that detectives still can't fully explain, shot into a family group gathered outside the home about 2 a.m. Sunday. He started blasting, shooting at them "six or seven times" -- and one of the bullets struck Jada, the "baby of the family," her relatives told the News.
Chris, speaking to the News, said it's still difficult to decipher what exactly happened.
“I wasn’t actually there, but I’ve asked family members what happened at least 50 times,” he said tearfully told the newspaper over the phone.
“My family told me Jada and her brother and some other family members were about to leave and Chris was trying to cross the street when the guy came speeding by,” Belante Cobb, 19, a cousin, told the News. “That’s when Chris asked why he was driving so fast and I guess the driver took offense, even though I was told Chris wasn’t yelling or talking rudely. They told me the guy opened his car door and shot six or seven times."
A neighbor, Diana Hodges, told Detroit CBS that Jada was a "smart and lovable" teenager.
“I think that it’s just the younger kids just have so much malice in their heart, they just have no values — no sense of value for life,” Hodges said. “There was no need for this. No need at all.”
The tragic news has shaken the Sterling Heights school community.
Sterling Heights High School Principal Craig Miller said in a statement on Warren Consolidated Schools’ website: “It is with great sadness I report that one of our students, sophomore Jada Rankin, was tragically killed last night. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family at their very difficult time.”
“Jada was a great student who had an energy about her and was always willing to help out,” Miller told WDIV. “This is a tremendous loss for the Stallion community.”
Anyone with any information on the shooting is urged to contact Detroit police at 313-596-2200. The gunman was driving a 2007 Silver Chevy.