A 20-year-old man was arrested in the shooting death of a 14-year-old who was pregnant, Atlanta police said.
Souleymane Diallo was booked into the Fulton County Jail on charges of second-degree murder in the case of Sonja Star Harrison’s death. He faces charges for her murder as well as charges in the death of her unborn child, police told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
He has been in and out of jail since at least 2015 for a number of previous crimes.
Diallo was arrested on Thanksgiving Day, three days after the shooting. Both Sonja Star and her child died Monday, Nov. 19.
Sonja Star was expected to give birth next month, her family members said, reported The Associated Press.
Officials told AP the bullet that killed Sonja Star went through the floor of an upstairs apartment before striking her in the head.
Diallo has been in and out of jail since at least 2015 for a number of crimes, according to Fulton County jail records. They include shoplifting, disorderly conduct, cruelty to children, willful obstruction of law enforcement, public drunkenness, public indecency, possession of controlled substances, and violation of probation, the Journal Constitution reported.
He was most recently released from jail on Oct. 18 after a shoplifting charge.
“They took her life—and my grandbaby’s life,” the 14-year-old girl’s mother, Sonja Denise Harrison, told the publication. “They took away two lives from me.”
“She was pregnant, but she had a future. She was going to finish school and she was talking about joining the Army, for her and her baby. And they took that away from her. They took my baby’s future. And they didn’t have no right doing that,” the mother said, Fox5 reported.
Several people were in the upstairs apartment where the shots were fired, said police. Early on, investigators told the Fox affiliate that it was an accidental shooting.
“She liked to dance, she liked to sing,” said Janiyah Copelin, 14, a friend of the girl’s. “I was going to be a part of her family,” she said. “I miss her.”
Sonja Denise Harrison said allegations that Diallo was the father of the unborn child are not true. “Folks saying he’s the baby’s father,’’ she told the paper. “He is not the father. He is not the father.”
Violent Crime Down in 2017
In September 2018, the FBI said Americans committed fewer violent and property crimes in 2017, according to statistics. The violent crime rate—including offenses such as murder, robbery, and aggravated assault—dropped by almost one percent and is still about 4 percent above the 2014 rate. The murder rate dropped by 0.7 percent.
“After historic increases in violent crime in 2015 and 2016, we are beginning to see encouraging signs,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement at the time. “But our work is not done. While we have made progress, violent crime and drug trafficking continue to plague our communities and destroy the lives of innocent, law-abiding Americans.”
Of the estimated 17,284 murders in 2017, more than half occurred in larger cities—with populations of more than 100,000.
There are fewer than 300 such cities in the United States, and while they account for less than 30 percent of the country’s population, many of them contribute far beyond their share to national crime rates and have done so for years, even decades.
While the national murder rate inched down to 5.3 per 100,000 residents, it spiked by 15 percent in Philadelphia, to a rate of more than 20 per 100,000 residents. Columbus, Ohio, saw a massive 54 percent murder rate increase, reaching nearly 16.3 per 100,000 residents.
Petr Svab contributed to this report.