FPD searches for shooter of 8-year-old victim

FRESNO, Calif.

Ahlia Cha is in intensive care following the shooting. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said she has been awake and alert, but she is heavily medicated. Ahlia was shot twice during a drive-by shooting early Thursday morning.

At a news conference Friday Ahlia's family put their emotions on display, pleading with the public for help in finding the suspect or suspects that shot her.

"The last time I took a look and my niece she was a healthy little young girl," said Kacey Cha, Ahlia's aunt. "It's hard to see her in the condition that's she's in."

Fresno police said Ahlia was asleep in the living room of her home when the shooting began. "This was a tragedy that didn't have to happen," Chief Dyer said. "And it demonstrates clearly that gang violence has no boundaries."

Dyer said more than two dozen shots were fired toward the house, more specifically at the cars parked out front. The vehicle that had the most rounds belonged to Ahlia's older brother," he said. "We believe that is the vehicle that was originally targeted as well as the residence."

His detectives have already served several search warrants and conducted probation searches. In total, Dyer said, they have contacted more than one hundred homes since the shooting.

"This could have very well been retaliation for some type of past incident," Dyer said.

Ahlia's mother, Xiong Yang, was too emotional to speak at the news conference. But, the family expressed gratitude for the intense investigation. Anybody who has information, we encourage, and we hope and pray that you feel our pain and that you will come forward with that information," Cha said.

Ahlia will face lasting physical and emotional injuries from the shooting. Chief Dyer said this is the first Southeast Asian gang shooting this year. There could be more than one suspect in the case. And when they're arrested, Dyer said, they will face attempted murder charges.

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