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Man who threw 5-year-old off balcony thought she was ‘demon,’ police say

Updated September 15, 2021 - 10:17 am

A 32-year-old man is facing an attempted murder charge alleging that he threw his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter off a third-floor balcony on Sunday after claiming the child was “full of bad spirits,” according to an arrest report.

Metropolitan Police Department officers were called about 4:45 p.m. to an apartment complex at 4375 Boulder Highway after receiving a 911 call with “yelling and screaming heard in the background.” When police arrived, they found a 5-year-old girl who had been thrown from a third-floor apartment balcony and landed face-first onto the gravel below, according to the arrest report.

Police determined that Jarick Willis, the boyfriend of the girl’s mother, had thrown the child over the railing, according to Willis’ arrest report. The girl’s mother then shot the 32-year-old, and he attempted to take the gun from her before jumping off the balcony himself, the report said.

The girl’s mother, who had been dating Willis since March, told police that he was visiting her apartment for the first time that weekend.

“(The woman) said she and Jarick practice and believe in African Spirituality and on Saturday Jarick started talking about how he believed (the girl) was full of bad spirits,” the report said.

The girl’s mother told Willis not to talk about her daughter “in that way,” but he brought it up again on Sunday. The woman told police that Willis believed her daughter was a “demon,” the report said.

Preparing for birthday party

The two were getting ready for a birthday party for one of the woman’s other children, when she head a commotion in the living room.

“(The woman) said she came out to the living room and saw Jarick leaning over the balcony and her son screaming and yelling,” the report said. “She went to the balcony and her son told her Jarick had thrown (the girl) off the balcony.”

The girl’s mother later told police that according to her son, Willis dragged the 5-year-old girl by her hair and threw her off the balcony, the report said.

The woman told police she thought Willis had killed her youngest daughter, and she was in fear of her life because she knew he had a gun. She grabbed her own gun and confronted Willis, who had walked into the shower, the report said.

She told police she shot at Willis twice through the shower doors, and he then “attacked her from behind,” the report said. During the struggle Willis was “fighting for the gun,” and the woman fired it several times.

Willis eventually ran out of the room and the woman shot at him again. Willis then jumped off the third-floor balcony, the report said.

At least four neighbors came outside after hearing the commotion. One man told police he saw Willis throw the girl off the balcony, and as he was running to help the girl he heard a gunshot. He then saw Willis fall from the balcony and run off, the report said.

The 5-year-old girl was in stable conditions at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, an officer wrote in the arrest report. She suffered a fractured forearm, pelvis, leg and rib, along with a possible fracture to her sternum. She also suffered a collapsed lung and lacerated liver.

Suspect hospitalized as well

Willis was booked into the Clark County Detention Center in absentia after he was taken to University Medical Center in critical condition. He suffered gunshot wounds to his hand and chest, including one that grazed his colon, as well as a ruptured diaphragm and a fractured neck and finger, the report said.

He faces charges of attempted murder and child abuse or neglect resulting in substantial bodily or mental harm, court records show. He remained in custody on Wednesday with a $150,000 bail.

A hearing in the case was scheduled for Thursday morning.

In October, 32-year-old Clarence Martin Jr. was arrested and charged with murder after he threw his 2-month-old daughter from an apartment complex balcony, killing the infant during a domestic disturbance, police said.

The baby, identified by the Clark County coroner’s office as 1-month-old London Martin, fell more than 22 feet, according to Martin’s arrest report.

According to Martin’s arrest report, London’s mother told police he had a history of “mental issues” and had not eaten or slept in the days leading up to the dispute. After throwing the baby from the balcony, Martin set fire to the living room, killing his family’s poodle, and led police on a car chase, crashing his vehicle at least three times.

Martin is scheduled for a jury trial on June 27, court records show.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.