[symple_googlemap title=”” location=”2300 block of West Greenacre Avenue, Anaheim, CA” height=”300″ zoom=”13″]

Anaheim police on Thursday offered $55,000 in rewards for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of a 9-year-old girl’s killer.

The Anaheim Police Department is offering a $50,000 reward for information on whoever fatally shot Ximena Meza, and the officers’ union was offering a $5,000 reward.

Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada and other officers planned to meet with the community tonight to discuss the status of the investigation.

The girl was declared dead at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange shortly after the shooting, which occurred about 7:15 p.m. Wednesday in the 2300 block of West Greenacre Avenue, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Coroner Division.

The child was playing with her two sisters and other children in front of an apartment complex when shots rang out, Anaheim police Lt. Bob Dunn said.

There are conflicting witness accounts about where the gunfire erupted. Witnesses told investigators they heard a shooting, saw some likely suspects running and a vehicle speeding away, Dunn said.

It’s possible it was a drive-by shooting, or the shooter was on foot and then jumped into a getaway vehicle, Dunn said.

“At this point, we don’t believe she was the target,” he said.

Investigators are seeking surveillance video from the area to give them clues, Dunn said.

A witness to the shooting reported hearing three shots and then tires screeching. Hector Lopez of Anaheim told the Orange County Register he was watching his son’s Pop Warner football team practice at nearby Brookhurst Community Park at the time.

Police said the suspect is male, but did not immediately offer further description. Lopez told the Register he thought the shooting was a drive-by.

Dunn described it as ” a family-oriented neighborhood, but it is frequented by gang members who do claim this area.”

Marquise Oliver, who was across the street when the shooting happened, told ABC7 she asked the child’s father, who was wailing over the girl, to let her perform CPR. But the girl could not be revived.

“A family is torn apart,” she said, urging anyone who knows the culprit to step forward. “Buck up and say something.”

The Anaheim Police Association offered a $5,000 reward for anyone offering information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

“Losing a child is horrible and tragic to any family, but to lose a bright and beautiful 9-year-old girl due to gang violence is unacceptable, and we should do everything in our power to bring the person(s) responsible to justice,” Union President Kerry Condon said. “This senseless killing has devastated a family, neighborhood and community here in Anaheim, and the men and women of the police department will work tirelessly to bring some sort of closure to the Meza family.”

Anyone with more information was urged to call Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIPOCCS. Anonymous tips are welcome.

City News Service

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