Pine Hills shootings: Family mourns loss of 9-year-old girl as her mother recovers at Orlando hospital
PINE HILLS, Fla. - A family is mourning the loss of a young girl shot and killed in Pine Hills Wednesday afternoon, as her mother recovers at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Neighbors say 9-year-old T’Yonna Major had just gotten home from school when she and her mother, whom relatives identified as Brandi, were shot inside their home.
"Everybody is heartbroken. Everybody around here knew that little girl," neighbor Livia Norwood said. "A bubbly, happy, little 9-year-old. She was out there the other weekday raking leaves with her mom and dad and you could see the joy in her face," Norwood said.
Deputies arrested the suspected gunman, 19-year-old Keith Moses, shortly after they said he went on a shooting spree, first killing a woman earlier that morning, and then returning to the scene on Hialeah Street hours later, killing an Orlando TV reporter who was in the area covering the earlier homicide, before shooting Major and her mother at a nearby home.
A news photographer was also shot alongside the reporter near their unmarked news vehicle, but he survived.
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"I just can’t imagine what her father is going through. He lost his little girl and his wife is in critical condition," Norwood said.
The principal of Pine Hills Elementary, where Major was enrolled as a third grader, left a message to parents about the student who was also known by the nickname Yaya. "She was a kind and beautiful young girl with an infectious smile. She will be missed dearly," the principal said.
A GoFundMe has been set up by the young girl's father to help pay for funeral expenses.
For neighbors, it hits too close to home. "That could have been me and my child," neighbor John Jones said. "I don’t understand that part, he should have been caught before he came back and killed innocent people. That’s not good," Melvin Trotto, another neighbor, said.
"It’s breaking my heart. It's different when you don’t know a family, but when you see them every day. See that little girl come home from school so happy, with her mom and dad, and now she’s gone," Norwood said.
We're told the little girl loved gymnastics and dancing. Grief counselors are on standby for her friends at school.