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Girl Slain As She Pauses in Front of Refrigerator

December 17, 1993

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ Eight-year-old Lativia Johnson had gone into the kitchen as her family gathered in the living room amid the Christmas decorations when somebody outside leveled a shotgun blast through the window. The child was killed, hit once in the head as she stood in front of the refrigerator.

Some relatives speculated another family member was the target of Thursday night’s shooting, and that it was gang-related. Others say it may have been payback for the arrest of a man for smashing the Johnsons’ car windows.

″This was a hit,″ said Calvin Johnson, Lativia’s uncle.

He said his nephew’s friends have been feuding with another group of neighborhood youths.

″There’s just a gang of them that hang out there every day, picking fights,″ said Johnson. ″There ain’t a man among them; they’re all punks carrying pistols.″ Police had no suspects Friday, but recovered a sawed- off shotgun from a vacant lot behind the house.

Grand Rapids Police Chief William Hegarty appealed to neighbors for help in finding Lativia’s killer.

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