TAMPA, Fla. — Five people have been indicted and arrested for their alleged role in the death of 4-year-old Suni Bell.
Suni Bell was killed on Sunday, August 22, near Hillsborough Avenue and 43rd street. The toddler was riding in the back seat of a silver Infiniti with two adults when a second car drove up and someone began shooting at the Infiniti.
Officials said Thursday they indicted and arrested Zvante Sampson, 30, Quandarious Hammond, 28, Jaylin Bedward, 22, James Denson, 24, and Andrew Thompson, 22.
All five individuals were indicted for the first-degree murder of Suni, attempted first-degree murder on a different victim in the same case, conspiracy to commit murder, and shooting into a vehicle.
The indictment also accused Hammond and Sampson of attempted murder on a third victim in the case. Hammond, Thompson, and Denson were also indicted for discharging a firearm from a vehicle in public.
Suni’s mother and grandmother told ABC Action News they are feeling an overwhelming sense of relief and gratitude. Now, their focus is on making sure justice is served.
Drial Bell, Suni’s grandma, was teary-eyed as she thanked the community.
“Thank y'all,” she said. “Thank everybody for the prayers and just being so honest for everything. I just thank God. I knew this day was going to come. I didn’t think it would come this soon. Thank you Jesus but it did.”
It’s been a heart-wrenching month and a half for Suni’s family as they’ve wondered who would shoot into a car on East Hillsborough Avenue, hitting and killing 4-year-old Suni.
Mary Harrison, Suni’s mother, says they plan to be at all the court proceedings.
“They have to pay for what they did. Every court date, we’re in it however it goes,” she explained.
The community and detectives had spent six weeks canvassing nearby neighborhoods for clues.
“I just wanted to thank the police department. Thank the mayor. The city council and everybody that played a part in bringing these people to justice,” Drial Bell added.
Community members hope the arrests send a strong message about the damage done every time someone chooses to hoist a weapon.
“Young men, young women please be sensitive to the decisions you make because your decision could change the whole world if you’re not careful,” explained Pastor Elvis Piggott of Triumph Church of Tampa Bay and friend of Suni Bell’s father.
Detectives believe others may have been involved in this case and continue to ask the public for help. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crimestoppers of Tampa Bay at 1-800-873-TIPS.
"Today's indictment represents a significant step forward in the effort to hold Suni's killers accountable and deliver justice for her and her family. Tampa Police and the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office will continue their work to identify and prosecute everyone involved," officials said.
ABC Action News will stay on top of this case as it makes its way through the justice system.
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