NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion The GladesBelle Glade


Prosecutors to seek death penalty for suspect in drive-by shooting that killed 8-year-old girl

Investigators say Andrew Thomas Jr. killed girl during retaliation shooting
Ron'Ziyah Atkins, 8-year-old Belle Glade girl killed in drive-by shooting on Feb. 4, 2022
Posted at 5:18 PM, Apr 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 17:20:55-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty against the man accused of killing an 8-year-old girl during a drive-by shooting in Belle Glade.

Andrew Thomas Jr., 20, is charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder in the Feb. 4 shooting death of Ron'Ziyah Atkins.

Assistant State Attorney Chrichet Mixon filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty earlier this month.

According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office probable cause affidavit, Ron'Ziyah was one of 13 children standing outside a home in the 500 block of Southeast First Street when she was gunned down.

The girl was flown to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, where she was pronounced dead.

According to the affidavit, Thomas was the target of a drive-by shooting days earlier. Detectives said Thomas used the same car that he had been driving when he was shot at in the Feb. 1 incident.

Investigators said surveillance video from the Feb. 4 shooting showed a bullet hole in the trunk of a Kia Forte — the same vehicle and damage that Thomas reported to deputies when he was fired upon.

Thomas was arrested two days later at a home in Coral Springs.