Family of slain Omaha girl says they want justice

AP News
Posted: Jan 16, 2014 6:51 PM

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The family of a 5-year-old Omaha girl killed by a stray bullet said Thursday they want justice rather than retaliation for her death.

Tabatha Manning said people angry with the death of her daughter Payton Benson need to offer compassion She along with other family members said the public needs to let police handle the investigation.

"I would like to ask the community to help me in forgiving the people that are responsible for this," she said as she began to cry at a press conference Thursday. "I don't want any retaliation. No anger. We need to love everyone. And this needs to end, for the safety of everyone. This is not fair."

Payton was eating breakfast Wednesday morning near her mother when she was struck by a bullet that had pierced into her north Omaha home. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital and is considered the city's first homicide victim of the year.

Authorities say the stray bullet was connected to a shooting about a block away that involved multiple people, weapons and gunfire. No arrests have been made.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said during a press conference Wednesday night that the shooting took place in an area that has had reports of gang and gun violence.

Manning encouraged people involved in the shooting to come forward. Police made the same plea Wednesday after releasing a photo of possible suspects in the case.

A memorial fund has been established to help support Payton's family. A $5,000 reward was increased to $25,000 for any information that may lead to an arrest.