Men charged after 11-year-old shot in Highland Heights


Gregory Scruggs, Janmarvis Thomas and Eric Smalls

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Three men have been arrested after an 11-year-old girl was shot in Highland Heights.

Mariola Lima, 11, was walking down Lamphier with her 17-year-old cousin when someone started shooting, striking her in the arm.

"I was screaming because I felt so scared," Lima said.

Officers said they located spent shell casings, blood and a vehicle that was damaged by the gunfire on the scene.

While investigating, authorities said Janmarvis Thomas approached law enforcement and identified himself as the owner of the damaged vehicle. He claimed that Gregory Scruggs had called him following an altercation with another man. Scruggs allegedly asked Thomas to pick him up and bring him his gun.

Thomas said he complied.

Later, Scruggs met with officers and stated that he, Thomas and Eric Small confronted the man he had been involved in an altercation with. Gregory said he then stepped out of Thomas' vehicle and opened fire. The other man returned fire hitting Small.

"They were fighting for some craziness, and I don't want this to happen to any other kid," Lima said.

Scruggs said that the 11-year-old and her cousin were behind the intended target when he started shooting but claimed someone inside the car struck her.

Lima went to school Wednesday with a bandaged arm, recovering from the bullet wound.

Thomas, Smalls and Scruggs were all charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault. Smalls was also charged with filing a false police report after he claimed to have been shot at Pillow and Dorris.

Mariola said she's a little relieved the guys believed to be responsible for her pain have been arrested. Of course, there's still a fear.

"I'm a little scared to go outside because I feel the same thing is going to happen," she said.

But amazingly Mariola, whose favorite subject is math and has dreams to become a doctor, said the violence has taught her a lesson.

"It makes me feel now I have to accept things for how they are," she said. "Like sometimes I would get mad for no reason, and then now I'm trying not to get mad anymore because life is so short, and you don't know when you're going to die and when you're not."


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