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UPDATE: Third man wanted in Za’layia Jenkins murder arrested

UPDATE: The third man wanted in connection to the death of a 9-year-old girl killed in 2016 has been arrested. 

Damonta Jennings is one of three suspects to be charged in the death of Za’layia Jenkins. Jennings was arrested in Oshkosh. 

The two others charged in the killing, Otha Brown and Tony Powell, are already in custody. All three have been charged with first degree reckless homicide. 

Police say Za'layia died as a result of a shootout between two groups. She was hit by a stray bullet while sitting in her home in the 1500 block of Meinecke Street on May 5.

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Three men are now charged in connection with the shooting death of Za'layia Jenkins, a 9-year-old Milwaukee girl who was hit by a stray bullet while sitting inside her home last year. 

Otha Brown, Damonta Jennings, and Tony Powell are now facing charges of First Degree Reckless Homicide. Jennings is not currently in custody.

Officers were dispatched to the shooting in the 1500 block of Meinecke Street on May 5th. Upon arrival, they located Za'layia suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. She later died, one day before her birthday. 

According to police, Za'layia died as a result of a shootout between two groups. Several witnesses reported hearing shots and seeing the shooting.

According to one witness, she was outside the home when she saw a white Malibu stop in the area and conduct what appeared to be a drug transaction with another car that stopped. The witness called out to the Malibu, telling the occupants not to sell drugs there. According to the criminal complaint, the Malibu drove off, came back, displayed a handgun, and told the witness, "I serve anyone I want in front of any house I want to!" The witness then ran inside and soon heard shots. Another witness told police they saw a man chasing after the white Malibu, firing shots at it.

According to the criminal complaint, Brown admitted to participating in the shooting. He said he was a rear passenger in a white car, Jennings was the driver, and Powell was the front passenger. Brown told police that the three of them stopped in the area of 15th and Meinecke so Jennings could conduct a drug sale. He said that Jennings then argued with a woman who called a man from inside the residence. According to Brown, that man came out carrying a gun and they argued briefly before shots were fired at them. They drove off.

According to Brown, they could hear and feel their car being struck by bullets. That's when they each allegedly got out a firearm and fired numerous rounds towards the house. Brown said they did this because they were mad.

Police were able to confirm the suspects involved through cell phone tower data which showed that one of the suspect's phones was in the area of the Za'layia's homicide at the time the Shotspotter data recorded the gunshots.

Surveillance camera from businesses and residences in the area of the homicide also confirmed that the white Malibu was in the area at the time of the homicide. 

Brown and Powell will have their Preliminary hearing on August 18th. A warrant has been issued for Jennings arrest. 

"You just have to know Za'layia to know that she deserves this. She deserves for justice to be sought, killers to be caught," Za'layia's mother told CBS 58 News during a vigil held in May.

Milwaukee Mayor Barrett released a statement on the charges filed in the murder of Za'layia,


“In May of last year, nine-year-old Za’layia Jenkins was watching television in her living room when bullets tore through the front of her home. Za’layia suffered a gunshot wound to the head and days later, just before her tenth birthday, Za’layia died. Today, three Milwaukee men have been charged with firing the shots that killed Za’layia. The men face charges of first-degree reckless homicide, being parties to a crime and use of a dangerous weapon. It has already been a tragically long year for Za’Laylai’s future was taken from her and her family. The gun totting criminals who indiscriminately shot up a neighborhood and took her young life deserve the full force of the criminal justice system and a future behind bars. The pain of losing a child never truly subsides but it is my hope that today’s announcement will provide some measure of relief to Za’Layia’s family, friends, and our Milwaukee Community.”
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