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A Florida Man Killed an 8-Year-Old Girl in a Drive-By Shooting. Her Grieving Mom Said, 'She Just Wanted to Play with the Other kids.'

broward child arrest
Source: Broward County Sheriff's Office; MEGA

Jan. 10 2024, Published 3:46 p.m. ET

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An 8-year-old girl in Florida was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting, and now her killer could spend much of his life behind bars.

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Around 7:15 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2022, The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office responded to a Belle Glade block and located a child suffering gunshot wounds.

The girl, later identified as Ronziyah Atkins, was rushed to an area hospital, where she died, according to CBS Miami.

On Feb. 7, 2022, sheriff’s officials announced they arrested then 20-year-old Andrew James Thomas in connection to the shooting. He was charged with first-degree murder with a firearm, attempted first-degree murder with a firearm and felon in possession of a firearm.

According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Thomas targeted the home where the drive-by shooting occurred because he believed someone at the residence had shot at him days before the deadly incident involving Atkins occurred.

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Thomas, now 22, recently reached a plea deal in the case. The agreement allowed him to plead guilty to second-degree murder with a firearm in exchange for a sentence of 45 years, The Palm Beach Post reported.

He also pleaded guilty to eight counts of attempted second-degree murder in connection with the shooting.

The Palm Beach Post noted that Thomas' defense attorney, Robert Gershman, conceded that his client “was fortunate to plead to a term of years on such a mass-shooting type case."

According to WPTV, after Atkins' death, her mother, Jameka McGee, remembered her daughter at a vigil as "funny" and "like a baby doll."

McGee added, “She just wanted to play with the other kids."

broward child arrest
Source: Broward County Sheriff's Office; MEGA

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