A man killed a Hudson Valley child when he fired nine shots from an AK-47 into the wrong home.

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On Friday, 24-year-old Gilbert Thomas of the City of Kingston pleaded guilty to murder, depraved indifference, a felony, for the murder of 12-year-old D’Janeira Mason.


On December 12, 2020, Thomas, who self-identifies as a member of the Bloods, used an AK-47, believed to be a “community gun” shared by Bloods members, to shoot into a home occupied by five children, officials say.

Semi-Automatic Rifles Equipped With Bump Stocks Used At Gun Range
Getty Images

Thomas claimed that he was retaliating for the stabbing of his brother earlier that evening. Prior to the shooting, Thomas went into the home, located at 60 Van Buren Street in the City of Kingston, and asked the children if the person who he believed had stabbed his brother was there.


The children told him there were no adults there. Thomas told the children he was there to “boom” the place. Thomas then walked across the street and pulled an AK-47 out of a bag, according to the Ulster County District Attorney's Office.



Thomas then shot nine times, two of the bullets entered the children’s bedroom and one of the bullets struck D’Janeira Mason in the head, killing her instantly.

"Thomas believed a rival gang was involved in his brother’s stabbing. There was, however, no gang involvement connected to the residence of these children. It appears the children were the victims of a mistake," Ulster County District Attorney David Clegg stated.

According to the plea agreement, Thomas will be sentenced to 20 years to life.

“The victim in this case was an innocent twelve-year-old girl. She had her whole life in front of her D’Janeira Mason mattered. She mattered to her siblings and parents, her friends and extended family. She mattered to her teachers and fellow students at Bailey Middle School. She mattered to this community. Her life was senselessly taken from her by a depraved indifferent act. My deepest condolences and concerns go out to her family and especially to D’Janeira’s sisters and brother who were present at and severely traumatized by this horrific tragedy," Clegg added.

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