Edison - Liberty City

He killed his 4-year-old niece, cops say — was it freak accident or reckless behavior?

Ronald Jones
Ronald Jones

What’s clear about Nyla Jones’ death: The 4-year-old was sitting in the back seat of a car during an argument between the driver and uncle Ronald Jones when a bullet from Jones’ gun ended her life.

What’s not clear: Why it happened.

The point of disagreement lies in the Miami police arrest report, released Monday, and the account from Jones’ family.

Did Jones point his gun at the car and say he was going to shoot before firing, as the police report indicates?

Or did the gun go off accidentally while he was handling it, sending the bullet into the car, as relatives say?

Jones, 24, is being held in Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center without bond on a second degree-murder charge and $60,000 bond on three counts of attempted second degree murder. Jones doesn’t have a documented history of violence. His only previous contact with the criminal courts was a petit theft conviction from 2012.

One of Jones’ sisters, Sharonda Mitchell, said Sunday she had spoken with her brother and with a nephew who was present at Saturday morning’s tragedy.

A memorial in honor of 4-year-old Nyla Jones continued to grow Sunday in Liberty City. Nyla was shot and killed Saturday March 31, 2018 by her uncle. Her family is calling the shooting an "accident."

Jones, she said, didn’t draw his gun to fire. The driver was another one of his sisters, one of Nyla’s aunts, Mitchell said. She said he was preparing to put the gun elsewhere when it went off and fired into the car.

The arrest report, however, said Ronald Jones was standing outside the car around 10:24 a.m. while arguing with the driver and another person. Aside from Jones and Nyla, the report redacts all other names.

“The argument escalated when R. Jones pointed a gun and screamed he was going to shoot,” according to the report. “R. Jones shot at the victim’s vehicle, which was occupied by (redacted name) (front passenger), (redacted name), and two juveniles, N.J. and (redacted name).”

The report says Nyla was driven to North Shore Hospital, 1100 95th St., where she died at 10:58 a.m. Saturday. Jones surrendered at the Miami police station at 1000 NW 62nd St. just after 1 p.m.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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