Samantha Zayzay was 12 years old when she was murdered in a drive-by shooting at her home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, more than two decades ago, and her case remains unsolved.
Shortly after 2 a.m. on Oct. 28, 1997, Samantha and her relatives were asleep when a vehicle drove by their home in the 5200 block of North Kenosha Avenue and opened fire.
An occupant of the vehicle shot at least 13 rounds from an assault rifle before speeding off, according to the Sapulpa Daily Herald.
Samantha was shot in the head and had to undergo surgery. Her then-39-year-old mother was shot in the leg and was listed in fair condition at an area hospital.
Two days later, at 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 30, 1997, Samantha was pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital.
Investigators stated the sixth-grader was not the intended target. They believed the gunman was a gang member who wanted to kill her brother, who was no longer living in the home.
An officer stated that “investigators believe that the gunman shot up the house with no regard for who was in it.”
There were eight people in the home at the time of the shooting.
On the day of the incident, Tulsa police officials arrested a 27-year-old man after a teenage witness identified him as the drive-by shooter.
He was charged with first-degree murder and shooting with the intent to kill, along with a slew of other charges.
Four months later, the suspect was released from jail after posting $132,500 bail.
His charges were dropped in December 1998 after police officials said the witness wasn’t credible because he gave various accounts of what happened during the shooting, The Daily Oklahoman reported.
A defense attorney stated that had the case gone to trial, his client had two alibi witnesses who could prove he was miles away when the shooting occurred.
According to Find A Grave, Samantha was buried at the Floral Haven Memorial Gardens in Tulsa County, Oklahoma.
Anyone with information regarding the unsolved murder of Samantha Zayzay is encouraged to contact the Tulsa Police Department Cold Case Unit via email: TPDColdCaseHomicide@cityoftulsa.org.