WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) — The mother of a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl, who was shot to death in an apparent home invasion attempt, is now awaiting trial on charges that she sold crack cocaine to an undercover informant.

But police in the town of Washington, approximately 20 miles from Pittsburgh, stopped short of saying that has any connection to the gunfire that killed little Taniyah Thomas before dawn Monday.

The girl was walking from her bedroom to her mother’s room when a shot fired through their apartment door struck her in the head just before 4 a.m. Monday morning.

Police said the girl’s mother, 36-year-old Shantye Brown, had previously been arrested on the drug charges in January. Her live-in boyfriend, 26-year-old Robert Lester, also has drug-related convictions in 2011 and 2013.

Police have questioned the couple, but have yet to name or charge any suspects in the girl’s shooting.

“They took her life away. I don’t understand it,” said the girl’s grandfather, Sherman Brown to WPXI. “I just took her last Wednesday to her cheerleading and she was supposed to go tomorrow to Pittsburgh for a competition. Now she can’t go.”

Thomas was a fourth grade cheerleader at Washington Park School.

“You don’t shoot kids. You don’t mess with young kids. Why? They never did anything you,” said Brown.

No arrests have been made. Police are asking for help with finding the gunman.


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