Growing memorial for 4-year-old girl shot, killed on Akron's west side

Posted at 7:11 PM, Feb 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-19 19:13:06-05

The man accused of killing a four-year-old girl Friday night is due in court Tuesday morning. 

Darnell Bitting, 31, was arrested Saturday afternoon after a manhunt that started Friday night. 

Stuffed animals, balloons and candles are now part of a growing memorial outside of 978 Mercer Ave. in Akron for a 4-year-old who was allegedly shot by Bitting.

Friday morning, Akron police said Bitting went to the home of his former girlfriend and the two had an argument. Police said he took cash, a PlayStation and keys. 

Friday night, "she put everyone in the car and drove over there to retrieve her property, " said Akron Police Lt. Rick Edwards. 

Four children including, Janaya Swain, were in the car when their mother knocked on Bitting's door.

Police said when he didn't come to the door, and she knew he was in there, she broke the windows.

"She can see him in the house now, she sees him with an assault rifle. She runs off the porch to get out of there. He comes out and fires one shot from the assault rifle," said Edwards.

That shot, Edwards said, went through an open car window and hit Janaya in the head, killing her.

Bitting took off, starting the manhunt that would last unit Saturday afternoon when he was captured by the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force and Akron police.

"This is a senseless and horrific crime," said U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott. 

Police tracked him to several locations. Inside of a duffel bag in a car belonging to one of Bitting's friends were more than a dozen guns, body armor and a grenade. 

Police believe the guns belong to Bitting. 

"He is not new to the criminal justice system," said Edwards.

Bitting was most recently convicted of drug trafficking.