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(DETROIT) — Saniyah “Niyah” Pugh, 11, was sleeping over at her grandmother’s Detroit home this weekend when gunfire erupted outside. Bullets penetrated the house, striking and killing Saniyah, who was in a bedroom.
“I heard two pop sounds … then I heard my daughter scream, ‘Niyah got shot!'” Saniyah’s grandmother, Lawanda Melton, told ABC News.
“I put a towel over her back to cover her bullet hole. And she was just bleeding so badly out her mouth and nose, but she was still trying to breathe,” she said.
When police arrived, “Niyah’s hand went limp and she was gone,” Melton said.
“My children and my grandson had to step over Saniyah’s deceased body,” she said.
No one else was hurt in the shooting, which took place around 10:15 p.m. Saturday at Melton’s home, Detroit police said. Two people are in custody: one adult and one minor, police said.
Saniyah loved cheerleading, gymnastics and TikTok.
“Saniyah was a very, very beautiful, talented little girl,” Melton said.
Melton is now planning her granddaughter’s funeral to help Saniyah’s distraught mother. The grieving grandmother said the unrelenting gun violence must stop.
“This is my home. This is somewhere that all my kids and myself should always feel safe,” Melton said. “There’s no safety in these schools for these children, there’s no safety in their own homes.”
Detroit Police Chief James White spoke out on the case Monday, saying the 11-year-old was “making TikTok videos and laughing one minute and being shot in the back … the next.”
The police chief blamed “irresponsible gun ownership” and “irresponsible use of a weapon.”
“It is of epidemic proportions right now in our country and in our city,” he told reporters.
Melton said, “I feel very broken. I feel very empty. I feel like I was supposed to be able to save her.”
“If I could take that bullet a million times over, I would, just for my daughter to still have her daughter, her only child,” she said.
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