Saying the "very sad" story of a 6-year-old girl shot and killed in Moreno Valley "hit me in a place nothing ever has," Compton rapper The Game has pledged $10,000 to Tiana Ricks' family for her funeral, his representative confirmed to The Times.
The 33-year-old, whose real name is Jayceon Terrell Taylor, posted a picture of the smiling girl on his Instagram account Tuesday, saying he read Tiana's story while in Australia and "immediately" tracked down her mother. When he learned the family was trying to raise money to cover the funeral, the rapper wrote, he called his accountant.
"To lose a child is to lose your soul," The Game told The Times in a statement. "My prayers are with her family."
Witnesses told KTLA-TV that Tiana and her father, Tyrell Ricks Jr., 26, were standing in the driveway of a Moreno Valley home Sunday when two men walked up, confronted them and opened fire.
Tiana died later at a hospital, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing. Riverside County Sheriff's Sgt. Lisa McConnell said Tuesday that the fatal shooting could "possibly be gang-related," but said Tiana's father was not believed to be involved in gang activity.
On his Instagram account, The Game urged prayers for the girl's family. Tiana's mother did not immediately have a comment, but told the rapper on her own Instagram account, "Thank you so much."
"My sincerest condolences to you & your family Marquia," The Game wrote, addressing Tiana's mother. "Glad that I could be of some help... I don't know what else to say, but @therobinhoodproject got you!"
The Robin Hood Project references a pledge the rapper made Monday — also posted to Instagram and Twitter — that he would give away $1 million before Christmas, apparently inspired by an encounter with a boy he met in Australia. The Game wrote the money would go "to people I come in contact with around the world."
"Don't even know if that's possible, but I've set my heart on trying!!!" he wrote of his goal.