Da'Myiah Barton-Pickens. Photo by: Provided by West Side Panthers

By: Bret Buganski , Valerie Lyons , Felicia Jordan , Christian LeDuc

SILVERTON, Ohio — A man has been formally charged with the murder of a 9-year-old girl in Silverton after she was killed in a drive-by shooting while inside her grandmother’s home.

Qasseem Dixon entered the court room on crutches for his arraignment Thursday morning. He is charged with aggravated murder for the shooting that killed Da’Myiah Barton-Pickens.

According to the prosecution, the drive-by shooting was done in retaliation. A relative of the young girl allegedly robbed a man who prosecutors said recruited Dixon to drive to the home, where they fired at least 28 rounds at the house.

That man has not yet been charged or arrested in this case. Police have not released any information about this additional man.

One of those rounds entered the home, hitting Barton-Pickens. She was rushed to the hospital where she later died.

Dixon’s bond was set at $2.5 million.

Dixon also faces a charge of having weapons under disability. Court documents say that one day after the shooting, on July 11, he was “observed through surveillance by Hamilton County Sheriff’s detectives” to be in possession of a Draco AK-47 rifle with a fully loaded magazine.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office first announced on Wednesday that two people had been taken into custody in connection to Barton-Pickens’ death. One of those people was Dixon.

The other is Demario Williams, who was driving the car Dixon was in the day after the shooting. According to prosecutors, when police attempted to stop the vehicle, Williams refused and fled officers until he crashed at the intersection of Galbraith and Daly roads.

In the car, on the driver’s side floorboard, investigators found a fully loaded Glock 27 .40 caliber hand gun, according to court documents.

Williams was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, but prosecutors said the grand jury may choose to add charges tied to fleeing from law enforcement. He is being held on a $100,000 straight bond.

During his arraignment, Williams’ attorney said he was “not involved at all” in the shooting the night before.

According to deputies, Dixon fired into the house in the 6000 block of Plainfield Road around 11:40 p.m. Monday night. Neighbors said it was Barton-Pickens’ grandmother’s home.

Surveillance video from the Sunoco gas station at the intersection of Galbraith and Daly roads shows the crash that led to the two being detained.

Once the car stops moving, a person can be seen getting out of the vehicle and running away. You can see another man limping in front of the store, but that man is taken to the ground and handcuffed.

Another driver was affected by the crash, but not seriously injured, according to the sheriff’s office.

Ballistics testing is also being done on weapons retrieved by the sheriff’s office, the release said.

The sheriff’s office plans to hold a press conference Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. to announce “more significant updates, including charges,” the press release says.

Community mourning loss of Da’Myiah Barton-Pickens

John Smith, the Mayor of Silverton, issued a statement from himself and the Silverton Village Council Tuesday afternoon, saying they were “shocked, angry and extremely saddened but this incident.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of young Da’Myiah Barton-Pickens as they grieve and try to make sense of this unthinkable tragedy,” the statement continues. “On behalf of the Silverton community, we extend our wholehearted support during this unimaginably difficult time. Silverton is a small, close-knit community and this type of violence is uncharacteristic and unacceptable.”

Mariah Miller, a family friend and coach for the West Side Panthers’ 11- and 12-year-old cheerleading squad, provided a message from Barton-Pickens’ family.

“They … wanted everyone to know her smile lit up the room,” Miller said.

Miller said the team had practice Tuesday night for the first time without Barton-Pickens. She noted it will be difficult to explain to the other children on the team what happened.

“It’s not going to be easy telling our kids that they lost a cheerleader, especially somebody they expect to see every day,” she said. “We see them now, but are we going to see them tomorrow? You just never know, it’s an unexplainable pain.”

Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Kode Sammarco said she’s fed up seeing so many young victims come through her doors.

“That really is the hardest part of this job,” she said.

Sammarco, who’s held the position for the past 12 years, said she was only two weeks into the role when a 3-month-old, a 4-month-old and a 2-year-old were murdered. She said she hoped she wouldn’t have to see much more of that, but in the years since, the number of children killed by gun violence has only soared.

“When I was talking to the pathologist that did this autopsy, she said, ‘Do you realize this is the fourth child under the age of 10 that I have autopsied in the last two weeks?'” Sammarco said. “(Children) shouldn’t have to worry about being in their homes and getting shot or outside playing in their yards and getting shot.”

Barton-Pickens’ family said a balloon release is planned in memory of the 9-year-old at Ryan Park in Westwood at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Reposted with permission from WCPO 9 Cincinnati.

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