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Sleeping girl killed by police bullet

A sleeping seven-year-old girl was killed when a Detroit police officer's gun went off during a search for a murder suspect.

Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee said Aiyana Jones was hit in the neck by a single bullet and died in hospital. The girl was sleeping on a couch when she was shot.

"This is any parent's worst nightmare. It also is any police officer's worst nightmare," Mr Godbee said.

Officers set off a flash grenade as they entered an apartment with guns drawn about 12.40am local time yesterday, with a warrant to look for a suspect in the murder of a 17-year-old boy.

The lead officer encountered a 46-year-old woman immediately inside the front room of the house and "some level of physical contact" followed, during which the officer's gun went off, Mr Godbee said. The officers had identified themselves as police, he said.

Aiyana's father Charles Jones said the woman was his mother and the child's grandmother.

Mr Jones said. "They say my mother resisted them, that she tried to take an officer's gun.

"My mother had never been in handcuffs in her life. They killed my baby, and I want someone to tell the truth."

Mr Jones said that after hearing the explosive and gunshot, he rushed into the room where his daughter had been sleeping. He said police forced him to lie on the ground with his face in his daughter's blood.

Mr Godbee said the officer was suspended on full pay. Police did not believe the gun was fired intentionally, he said.

During the search, officers arrested a 34-year-old man suspected of shooting dead teenager Jarean Blake at an off-licence.

Mr Jones said the suspect was not in his apartment but in one upstairs that officers raided at the same time.