An Alabama man says that a woman accused of killing her toddler niece was in the middle of a custody dispute when the shooting occurred, according to the child’s father.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, authorities responded to a car shooting in the Peterman community, off of 860 County Road 42, on December 24. When first responders arrived at the scene, they found an infant with a gunshot wound to the face. They rushed the baby to the Monroe County emergency room.
The infant was later transferred to the University Hospital in Mobile, where she subsequently passed away.
Authorities alleged that Tamika Stallworth opened fire into an occupied vehicle. One of the bullets hit her 10-month-old niece, Jamaya Austin. Stallworth is now facing murder charges.
Jamaya’s father, Jarmel Austin, told CBS 42 that the suspect approached his car and demanded that the toddler come with her shortly before the incident happened. When Austin refused, Stallworth allegedly shot into the car, striking the baby in the face. Austin said Stallworth was not intentionally aiming for Jamaya.
“We have to think positive, God had something in store for her I know he has her in the palm of his hand I mean whatever His purpose for her I can’t overpower that, He had to get her, she was so precious, she was a little angel,” Austin told the outlet.
Sheriff Tom Boatwright reports that on Christmas Eve his department responded to 860 County Road 42 in the Peterman…
Other family members were shocked to hear the accusations against Stallworth. The suspect’s uncle, Charlie Stallworth, told News 5 he hadn’t know Stallworth to be a violent person.
“I’ve never known Tamika to have a single violent bone in her body. She is always kind and compassionate, which makes the ordeal hard to grasp…I stand with my family… [We are] trying to keep everyone in prayer during this tragic and unfortunate time.”
Charlie Stallworth told FOX 10 that his tight-knight family is sticking together while trying to understand what happened.
“A pleasant, adorable… as you can tell from the picture, just an adorable baby… it’s just so unfortunate. Difficult to understand and to put our minds around.”
Stallworth remains behind bars on a $750,000 bond. Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Jamaya Austin/GoFundMe]