Patricia McGowan, who lives near the scene, told NBC Chicago that she was at a salon when shots rang out. “I just heard like a lot of shots and skid marks, so that’s when I ran to the corner,” she said.
“There is always gunshots and crime in the neighborhood, always drug activity in the neighborhood. … It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “We’re looking for a place to move out immediately because that could have easily been me coming from the bus.”
Jonylah Watkins wasn’t even born yet when she received her first gunshot trauma. Her mother was shot in the leg.
Monday, and now just 6 months old, while her father was changing her diaper in a minivan, she was shot multiple times. Paramedics were on the scene about 1 p.m., and rushed her to Corner Children’s Hospital. Jonylah died Tuesday.
Police say witnesses saw the shooter jump into a blue van in Chicago’s south side, and sped away.
The shooter “was firing at the father, and exclusively at the father,” Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said. McCarthy also said no one was coming forward to help.
“We don’t have one individual who’s stepping up to help us,” he said. “We don’t have cooperating witnesses.”
The father is in serious condition at Northwestern Hospital, but was able to give a brief telephone interview to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“I was trying to help. I was trying to help. I was trying to help her,” he told a reporter shortly after learning that his baby had died from her wounds. “They told me she didn’t make it.”
Police are not dismissing any possible reason for the murder, including gang violence.
Baby Jonylah’s death is just the latest episode of gun violence in Chicago. There were 513 homicides in the city in 2012, a nearly 15% increase from 448 homicides in 2011.
“It’s never been a regular day in Chicago when it comes to our children dying this way,” said Diane Latiker, a Chicago mother of eight children who became a CNN Hero nominee for her work trying to keep kids away from violence.
“Hearing about this baby — I was so outraged. It just is so beyond,” she said. “I will stay outraged but the problem is that people in our community are not speaking up, they are not speaking at all. We are not vocal enough. We’re too silent.”
Would Jonylah still be alive if her father had a firearm. Wayne LaPierre would say, “probably”. But, that’s his job as a gun lobbyist. And, he’s not a realist.
Columnist-The Guardian Express