Inform, Entertain, Inspire
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Teenager convicted of murder in shooting that killed St. Joseph County jail officer

A front photo of a Black woman Rhema Harris
Photo provided, St. Joseph County Police Department
Rhema Harris was killed in a shooting in June 2022. She was an army veteran and St. Joseph County corrections officer

A teenager accused of shooting St. Joseph County jail officer Rhema Harris was convicted this week.

On Tuesday, St. Joseph County judge Jeff Sanford found 19-year-old Braxton Bird guilty of murder in a connection to a drive-by shooting on Milford Boulevard in Mishawaka in June of 2022.

Bird will be sentenced later this year and faces a minimum of 45 years in prison.

In court, prosecutors argued that Bird meant to shoot at a girl he had been feuding with on social media. Instead, Bird hit and killed Rhema Harris, who was a friend of the girl's mother and was at the house on Milburn Boulevard at the time.

Bird’s younger cousin Braeyln Rios is also charged with murder for participating in the shooting. Prosecutors said a car of five people drove behind the house on Milburn Avenue, but only Bird and Rios fired shots. Police say the pair fired close to 20 rounds at the house, with Bird firing a rifle and Rios firing a handgun. Rios was 14 at the time of the shooting.

In a statement, St. Joseph County Sheriff Bill Redman said Bird’s conviction is “bittersweet. Although justice will be served, our County Police family continues to miss Rhema.”

Marek Mazurek has been with WVPE since April 2023, though he's been in Michiana for most of his life. He has a particular interest in public safety reporting. When he's not on the radio, Marek enjoys getting way too into Notre Dame football and reading about medieval English history.