7-Year-Old Killed in Mother's Car After Argument Results in Shooting

Police say a 7-year-old girl in Arizona was fatally shot early Thursday morning after several bullets were fired into her mother's car.

Officers were alerted to the shooting in the city of Glendale just after midnight by ShotSpotter, a gunfire detection system used by the police department. The mother, her 5-year-old daughter and the boyfriend, who were in the car at the time of the shooting, were not injured, police said.

In recent years, the number of children killed by gunfire nationwide has significantly increased. From 2019 to 2020, gun-related deaths for children younger than 14 rose by at least 47 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Glendale police Sergeant Randy Stewart told Newsweek that the mother had driven with her two children to pick up her boyfriend in a business parking lot just before midnight Wednesday. As the mother arrived, the boyfriend was in a verbal altercation with someone inside another vehicle in the parking lot.

The boyfriend then got into the mother's vehicle, and she pulled out of the parking lot with the suspect following behind. Somewhere on Bethany Home Road between 65th and 55th avenues, the suspect fired a handgun at the mother's vehicle multiple times, striking the 7-year-old girl, who was in the back seat. The suspect fled the scene and the mother drove to a hospital, where the girl was pronounced dead, police said in a statement.

When officers initially arrived at the scene, they found a shell casing. After about 10 minutes, officers received a call from a male who told them that a female had been shot and that he was at the local hospital.

Police said they located the suspect and arrested Terriance Armstrong Jr., 29, Thursday. His vehicle, which was later located by detectives, was identified as the one involved in the shooting, according to police.

Armstrong told detectives that he got into an argument with a male on Bethany Home Road and that he shot multiple rounds from his handgun at the other vehicle, police said in a statement. Evidence connected to the shooting was recovered, along with approximately 3,000 fentanyl pills.

Armstrong faces charges of homicide, drive-by shooting, aggravated assault, prohibited possessor, endangerment, unlawful discharge of a firearm and possession of narcotics for sale.

"Our police department worked diligently to find and apprehend
the suspect of this terrible crime. It's tragic when these types of events happen, especially to the most innocent," Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers said in a statement.

Police did not release the other identities of those involved. Police also said the information they have is preliminary and subject to change upon further investigation.

Update 02/18/22, 11:15 a.m. ET: This story has been updated with more background and information, including the arrest of a suspect in the shooting. The victim's age was corrected to 7.

Child Shot
A 7-year-old girl was killed Thursday in Arizona when struck by multiple gunshots fired into her mother's car. Matt Rourke/AP Photo