Juvenile charged in fatal shooting of 8-year-old Jenesis Dockery

Jenesis was shot on July 25 and died two days later.

August 16, 2023, 1:07 PM

A juvenile was arrested and charged with the fatal shooting of Jenesis Dockery, an 8-year-old girl who, according to her family, was shot while she was at her babysitter's house in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on July 25. Jenesis was transported to a hospital, where she died two days later.

Jenesis' funeral was held last Wednesday and before charges were filed her family had been calling for justice and accountability since her death on July 27.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office told ABC News in a statement on Tuesday that Special Victims Unit detectives detained the juvenile offender charged with the shooting on Aug. 11 and the juvenile is now in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

“This has been a horrible nightmare; still doesn't feel real,” Jenesis’ father, Fon Dockery, said during a press conference on Thursday. “It's hard to put into words how we're trying to navigate three weeks later for something to be done. We wore orange pins on the day we buried our daughter for gun violence awareness because as much as we want justice for our daughter, this is something no parent should ever have to do.”

Jenesis Dockery is seen here in a TikTok video screen grab.
Dockery Family

According to the family, Fon Dockery said that he dropped off Jenesis and her 5-year-old sister on July 25 at the home of a longtime friend of the family who also served as the family's babysitter.

But less than an hour later, Fon Dockery received a phone call from the babysitter, who said that Jenesis was shot in the head by the babysitter’s 11-year-old son. Authorities have not identified the babysitter and they also have not indicated the juvenile's age.

The juvenile’s arrest on Aug. 11 came after the sheriff’s office submitted a complaint to the Division of Juvenile Justice on Aug. 10 “alleging that two counts of larceny of a firearm and a charge of manslaughter were warranted,” according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.

Asked to confirm the charges against the juvenile, a spokesperson for the Division of Juvenile Justice declined to provide more details, telling ABC News in a statement on Tuesday, “Due to North Carolina’s juvenile confidentiality laws, we are unable to share information regarding any juvenile and potential complaints/charges filed against them.”

Jenesis Dockery is pictured in a TikTok video.
Dockery Family

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said that deputies responded at 3:26 p.m. on July 25 to a shooting at the 3300-block Mercedes Drive in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where they found an unresponsive juvenile with a gunshot wound.

The juvenile, who was identified by the sheriff’s office on July 27 as Jenesis Dockery, died from her injuries two days after the shooting, the sheriff’s office said.

According to the family, Jenesis Dockery was transported to the Cape Fear Valley Hospital at UNC Chapel Hill, but “Despite the efforts of doctors,” she died.

Dockery family attorney Harry Daniels said during the press conference on Thursday that although there can be “no real justice” because “we cannot go back in time and bring back Jenesis,” there has to be accountability for her killing.

“This Dockery Family ain't going anywhere. They’re not going away. This community – Fayetteville – support and stand by this family. They're not going anywhere. They're going to get justice for their child,” he added.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office told ABC News that Jenesis’ fatal shooting is “an open investigation” and did not comment on how a juvenile got access to a gun and whether any adults will be charged in the incident.