A six-month-old baby from Chicago died this week after succumbing to injuries she sustained after she was shot alongside her father.
According to reports, little Jonylah Watkins was shot at least five times while her father — apparently the target of the shooting — changed her diaper in his minivan. He too was shot several times, and was transported to a nearby hospital, where he remains in critical condition.
The shooting happened on Monday (Mar 11) in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood, located on the city’s South Side, and Baby Jonylah died the following Tuesday at the Comer Children’s Hospital at Chicago University, where she was treated for injuries to the liver, lung, shoulder, leg and intestine.
Jonylah’s father, Jonathan Watkins, was notified of her death, and police are said to be on the hunt for the shooter, who jumped into a blue van after the shooting and drove away.
Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said that no one has come forward to help police with the investigation.
“We don’t have one individual who’s stepping up to help us,” McCarthy said. “We don’t have cooperating witnesses.”
Watkins, who is said to be a member of the notorious gang “The Gangster Disciples,” briefly talked about the tragic incident in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times from hospital bed.
“I was trying to help. I was trying to help. I was trying to help her,” he told Chicago’s FOX 32 after learning that his infant daughter had died. “They told me she didn’t make it.”
Witnesses said that a gunman approached Jonathan around 1 p.m. Monday afternoon and opened fire on him as he was standing beside his minivan and changing his daughter’s diaper in the front seat. Watkins was hit in the buttocks, on his side and a bullet also grazed his face.
In a sad and ironic twist to Jonylah Watkins’ story, her mother was shot in the knee while she was pregnant with her, the baby’s grandmother Mary Young told reporters in Chicago.
“There’s too much shooting over there,” Young said. Speaking of her granddaughter, she added, “She’s nothing but 6 months old. How could anybody — what kind of heart?”
Jonylah Watkins’ death is perhaps the saddest in troubled city of Chicago, which has been in the press a lot lately for its rampant gang violence and shooting deaths. The Windy City closed out the year 2012 with over 500 homicides, and the year before, in 2011, there were 435.
The year 2013 doesn’t seem to be starting off good either, as there were at least 40 gun-related deaths in the month of January alone — including the shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was killed when a gunman opened fire on a group of young people at a park in the city’s infamous South Side.
Just days before she was killed, Pendleton had performed in an event related to President Obama’s inauguration in Washington, D.C.