Man Suspected of Shooting, Killing 10-Year-Old Summer Brown Behind Bars

April 5, 2019 Updated: April 5, 2019

An Arizona man suspected of killing a young girl in a horrific road rage attack was arrested late on April 4.

Phoenix Police confirmed the next morning at a press conference that Joshua Gonzalez, 20, is being questioned about the murder of 10-year-old Summer Brown.

Police Sergeant Vince Lewis said the suspect is accused of following the victim and her three family members home. The family vehicle allegedly failed to give right-of-way to the suspect, who drove a white Ford F150 4-door pickup truck with dark colored trim on the bottom, near North 37th Avenue and West Portland Street on April 3 at about 5:45 p.m. local time.

According to police, the family continued traveling to 3800 West Moreland Street, and as they turned into the driveway, the suspect allegedly stopped behind their car and fired several gunshots at them. Summer and her father on the driver’s side were shot while her sister, 12, and mother on the passenger side were unharmed.

The suspect then fled westbound on Moreland Street and northbound on North 39th Avenue.

“Both the male and girl were transported to hospitals. The girl succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased at the hospital,” the City of Phoenix Police Department said in a Facebook post dated April 4. “The male suffered [a] non life-threatening injury.”

HOMICIDE – REQUEST FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE Report#: 2019-558843Date/Time: Wednesday, April 3, 2019; 5:45pmLocation: 3800 West Moreland StreetSuspect: Unknown male, 30 to 40 years old, driving a white Ford F150 4-door pickup with dark colored trim on the bottomVictim1: Summerbell Brown, female, 10 years old (deceased) Victim2: Male, 30 years old, non life-threatening injuryDetails: On Wednesday, April 3, 2019, at around 5:45pm, a family of four were driving northbound in the area of North 37th Avenue and West Portland Street when they noticed a white Ford F150 4-door pickup truck following them very closely. They turned west onto West Moreland Street, where they live, and the truck continued following. As they turned into the driveway of the residence, near 3800 West, the truck stopped behind the family car and the driver fired several gunshots at them. The driver, an adult male and father, as well as one of the two daughters seated in the rear behind her father, were both struck by gunfire. The mother, seated in front and the other daughter, seated in the rear, were not injured. The suspect fled westbound on Moreland Street, then northbound on North 39th Avenue.Both the male and girl were transported to hospitals. The girl succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased at the hospital. The male suffered non life-threatening injury.Anyone with information about this suspect or crime is asked to call Silent Witness at (480) W-I-T-N-E-S-S, or for Spanish (480) T-E-S-T-I-G-O. As always, callers may remain anonymous and could earn a reward of up to $1,000.

Posted by City of Phoenix Police Department on Thursday, April 4, 2019

Police released a composite sketch of the attacker and surveillance video of the Ford pickup truck that followed the family car on March 4, prompting citizens to report the truck’s location at a property near 59th Avenue and Indian School Road, just 5 miles from the scene of the shooting.

Lewis said officers were able to confirm the truck belonged to the suspect, even though a variety of modifications had already been made to the vehicle’s appearance and tires.

Officers searched the home where the truck was located and recovered a gun that could be traced back to Gonzalez and the shooting scene. Gonzalez has been charged on one count of first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault.

Summer’s family has raised $10,073 from its original target of $5,000 to help cover the girl’s funeral expenses and relieve financial hardship for the family.

“With heavy hearts, we announce that on April 3, 2019, Summer Mellody Bell (age 10), passed away unexpectedly,” the family said on their GoFundMe fundraising campaign page. “Summer was a beautiful young girl full of life, highly intelligent, funny, and always busy with her sister, Autumn. Summer will be greatly missed by countless family and friends.”

The campaign attracted a wave of comments, expressing their horror and sympathy.

“I am absolutely crushed at the loss of your beautiful little girl. I am so sorry such a beautiful life and light was taken in such an evil and senseless way,” Kelley Lee said. “God must have needed a very special helper in calling her home to his loving arms. I will continue to pray for you and that justice will prevail for your family.”

“When I lost my child, there was a really long grieving period for me and I understand that life does not wait for people to recover from grief,” Kathleen Brant said. “Her life had and will continue to have meaning and I am so sorry for their loss.”

“No words will help make you feel better or bring your baby back. This is a tragedy beyond comprehension,” Claudia and Jerry Behnke said. “Please know you are in our prayers. May God grant you the strength you will need to get through this difficult time.”