Eight-year-old Gabrielle Hill Carter was shot in the head as she ran into the same doorway as the person who was the intended target of the shooting, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Tyhan Brown, 18, who authorities say fired the shots, was held on $1.5 million bail during an arraignment in Superior Court in Camden. Prosecutors say he shot Gabrielle, who died two days later at Cooper University Hospital.
Brown had an ongoing dispute with Amir Dixon, the intended target. He had posted a video on Facebook taunting Dixon and flashed a gun at him while driving an ATV in the days before the slaying, prosecutors said. Dixon has not been charged, authorities said.
Around 4 p.m. Aug. 24, someone shot out the rear window of Brown's mother's vehicle in the 1800 block of Kossuth Street, authorities said. They did not specify whether Dixon may have been involved.
Around 8:30 p.m. that day, Brown and several others came to Eighth and Spruce Streets, where Gabrielle was riding her bicycle, and opened fire on Dixon, prosecutors said.
Brown fled to his aunt's home in Sicklerville - with his mother and girlfriend - and then flew to Tennessee, where he hid at his uncle's home in Clarksville for nearly a month, prosecutors said.
Investigators spoke to Brown on Aug. 30. He told them he was with his mother and girlfriend at his aunt's home when the shooting occurred, but an analysis of Brown's cellphone indicated he was in the area of the shooting, prosecutors said.
Brown's mother, Shakia Land, has been charged with hindering the investigation by providing a false alibi for her son. Brown's girlfriend, Natasha Gerald, faces similar charges.
Gabrielle's mother, Meresa Carter-Phillips, said that being in the same courtroom as her daughter's alleged killer "broke my heart."
"I just had to sit here and relive everything that happened to my daughter," she said Tuesday afternoon after attending the hearing with Gabrielle's stepfather, uncle, and grandmother.
Gabrielle's slaying drew outcry in Camden, where hundreds attended a vigil at Eighth and Spruce a day after Gabrielle's death. Authorities offered a $76,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.
Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson has said that the shooting was a result of gang violence, and that more arrests are expected.