TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – Tamerra Harper still carries the scars on her tiny forehead and arm. She was just 4-years-old on a normal night in July of 2013 when she fell asleep in a chair inside of her grandmother’s Tuscaloosa home, and woke up as the victim of a drive-by shooting.
“The bullet is still there,” La Shonda Harper-Gipson explains, pointing to the scar on her granddaughter’s forehead. “They want to make sure that it’s not moving, or setting up infection.”
Harper-Gipson says Tamerra still travels to Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham every two months to have her head scanned. The little girl complains of vision problems and headaches; but her family says, her recovery has been nothing short of a miracle. Now, they have something else to celebrate.
Investigators arrested Joshua Raheem Long in connection to the shooting. Tuscaloosa Police Patrol units picked Long up at 2:30 a.m. today. It was actually an unrelated case where the Tuscaloosa Metro Homicide Unit received information that led them to Long.
“We were missing bits of the puzzle that we needed to tie Mr. Long in,” says Homicide Unit Commander, Dale Phillips. “We knew he was involved from the word go, and by obtaining this information that led us to a witness, that witness was able to close those gaps in our chain, so to speak.”
Investigators already arrested a first suspect, Kendrick Hyche, back on July 15, 2013. Now that Long is also in custody, they do not believe they are searching for any additional suspects.
“I am so relieved,” says Harper-Gipson. “I cannot explain to you the stress from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, or how overjoyed I am today.”
Tamerra and her twin sister will be starting kindergarten in the fall. Harper-Gipson says they have to watch Tamerra closely because of the injuries she sustained in the shooting.
“To make sure that she doesn’t fall or hit her head or get hit in the head when she’s playing with other kids,” says Harper-Gipson. “It’s kind of stressful, and it’s unfair to her.”
Kendrick Hyche and Joshua Long are both charged with Attempted Murder, Assault I, and Discharging a firearm into an occupied building. Both are currently being held in the Tuscaloosa County Jail on a $120,000 bond.
Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News