Suspected baby killer shot in head by police

Last updated 12:59 24/07/2013

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A US teenager suspected of suffocating his six-year-old neighbour with plastic bags and dumping her body has been shot in the head during an exchange of gunfire with police. 

Tyler Holder, 17, was hospitalised, but authorities have not released his condition. A police detective was seriously wounded but was expected to recover.  

The police team had gone to Holder's home in Texas to serve search warrants. Authorities suspect Holder sexually assaulted and suffocated Alanna Gallagher, who was found with plastic bags taped around her neck, a capital murder arrest warrant says. 

Holder's DNA matched evidence found on the girl's body and on a belt wrapped around the tarp, according to the source. Two teenagers three weeks ago found the girl's naked body, which was stuffed in a large trash bag, wrapped in a tarp and dumped on a street. 

Police also are trying to determine who set fire to a makeshift memorial for the girl and burned a car owned by the girl's family. Holder lives two doors down from the house where Alanna lived with her family. 

She had been playing outside the afternoon she went missing, and a neighbour told authorities that the girl was last seen by Holder's flower beds.

It was reported Holder allegedly told neighbours that the child found dead was Alanna before authorities had revealed the victim's identity. 

Matt Zavadsky, a spokesman with Fort Worth's MedStar Emergency Medical Services, indicated the teen was shot in the head.

Kimberly Holder, who lives at the home with her son, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram she did not know his condition. 

Yolanda Sierra, who lives in the same neighborhood, said he was wearing a T-shirt that read ''Wanted'' at a memorial service for Alanna. ''It's inappropriate because ... she was murdered,'' Sierra said. 

Neighbours described Holder as a nuisance. Richard Spencer, 15, said Holder seemed odd and suspicious. ''He put off a weird attitude, a weird vibe,'' Spencer said. ''It was the way he talked, his tone of voice.''

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- Reuters

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