An ongoing feud between two families led to the shooting that killed 12-year-old Makiya Walls in Victorville Wednesday night, officials said Friday in announcing the arrest of a documented gang member and two associates.
The girl's mother has also been arrested after allegedly making threats following her daughter's death, authorities said.
Walls was inside her mother's home in the 17000 block of Monaco Drive when witnesses say a man walked up to the house holding a shotgun and opened fire at about 8:23 p.m. Walls was struck by the gunfire and later died at a local hospital.
Anthony Pitts, 26, was identified as a suspect in the shooting and was arrested in Redlands Thursday without incident, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said. He was leaving his mother's home when he was taken into custody about 6 p.m., a sheriff's news release stated.
Danielle Cummings and Reyna Mercado, described as Pitts' associates, were also arrested, McMahon said. The news release said they were arrested after interviews with investigators at the Victorville police station.
Their involvement in the shooting was unclear, but the release stated the trio of suspects had "targeted" the victim's home. All three suspects are from Adelanto.
Investigators believe the shooting was the result of a monthslong feud between Walls' family and the suspect's family, sheriff's Sgt. John Gaffney said.
An altercation between the families earlier in the day led to Wednesday night's shooting, Gaffney said.
Walls was not the intended victim of the shooting, said McMahon, who did not say who the intended target was.
Pitts is a self-admitted gang member with a prior booking for domestic violence, Gaffney said.
A vigil for Walls was held in Adelanto Thursday evening.
"My baby was loved," Walls’ mother Maesha McCullers told KTLA. "This is hard. This is very, very difficult. I've never felt anything like this.”
At some point following Walls death, McCullers allegedly made threats against the people believed to be involved in the shooting, McMahon said.
“The mother of Mikaya was obviously shaken by this event. She was involved in some activity that amounted to credible terrorist threats against the suspect and the suspect’s associates. ... She was arrested last night for those terrorist threats,” McMahon said.
McCullers told reporters on Thursday that her daughter's death was caused by some "senseless bull that had absolutely nothing to do with her." But she also said she had no idea who would have shot at her home.
"You will pay," she said Thursday. "Guarantee ... you and whoever was involved, you will pay."
McMahon also said the shooting was part of an overall increase in gang violence in the High Desert. There have been four gang killings within the last week, the sheriff said.
Correction: An earlier version of this article spelled Sgt. John Gaffney's last name wrong. The story has been updated.