CLEVELAND --The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner has ruled the shooting death of a 5-year-old girl as a homicide. The ruling came Wednesday morning. The medical examiner says the child died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head.
Late Tuesday night, Cleveland Police announced that Geoffrey Gurkovich, 32, had been charged with aggravated murder in the shooting death of Jermani Brooks.
According to police, on Sunday night, Gurkovich stepped out of his SUV near 130th Street and Crossburn Avenue and shot 33-year-old Noni Brooks and her daughter, Jermani, 5, while they were sitting in their car.
However, police say the Brooks family was not the intended target.
"They were in the wrong place at the wrong time," says Cleveland Police Chief Mike McGrath.
Noni was also shot shot in the head.
According to a family friend, Noni lost an eye, but has been upgraded from critical to good condition at MetroHealth Medical Center.
Police say the intended target was Gurkovich's girlfriend. It's not clear where she was during the shooting.
Channel 3 News dug through police reports over the last 13 years in which Gurkovich has been charged with multiple counts of domestic violence. In one police report from 2007 his ex wife told police: "Geoff said he is not going back to prison for nothing, and that he was making a personal threat of harm to me. I'm afraid that he's going to come to my house and harm me."
Earlier that year she told authorities, "He threatened to duct tape me and drag me behind his bicycle to the railroad tracks. Then he told me if I told anyone what happened that he would go to my brothers house and shoot him."
On Tuesday police confirmed that there were two other children in the car at the time of the shooting.
They were not injured, which is surprising, since police say Gurkovich was firing rounds indiscriminately.
It's an incredible tragedy that has left neighbors on edge.
Crystal Selvage lives across the street from where the shooting happened.
She and her family set up a memorial for little Jermani. Now they're praying for peace and for justice for the Brooks family.
"I'm in fear, to tell you the truth, in fear for my children," says Selvage.
Gurkovich is currently in jail.
Meanwhile, during a records search, Channel 3 discovered that Gurkovich has been in and out of court for the last 10 years on charges of aggravated burglary, kidnapping, and domestic violence.