Baby shot dies; father in serious condition

Jonylah Watkins
March 15, 2013 3:42:30 AM PDT
As police search for the killer of 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins, outrage over her death spreads, and the outpouring of grief includes a gesture by the Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose.

Rose has offered to help pay for Jonylah's funeral expenses. Others have come forward to donate money to a reward fund to help find the killer. Tuesday night, that reward fund stood at $11,000.

With Jonylah's mother looking on, dozens of people, many who have no connection to the family, added to the growing memorial near 65th Street and Maryland Tuesday night.

It's next to the place where a gunman shot the 6-month-old five times as her father changed her diaper in the car. They are outraged and want the killer behind bars.

"These persons who committed this horrible crime, we guarantee you they will be brought to justice," said family spokesperson Corey Brooks.

They hand out flyers in the neighborhood, encouraging those with information about the killer to come forward. Among those there to offer support were others who have lost loved ones, including the mother of 7-year-old Heaven Sutton, who was killed outside her house by a random bullet last June.

"It's just really sad," said Ashake Banks. "I been up all night praying for this little girl praying, praying."

Fr. Michael Pfleger sent a letter to area churches, calling the shooting pure evil and asking church leaders to help break the code of silence.

"How do you remain silent about a 6-month-old baby being killed? What kind of society are we? We get outraged about innocent people being killed in Afghanistan, but we don't get outraged about a baby?" said Fr. Michael Pfleger, St. Sabina Church.

Police have some leads, including security camera video of the blue van in which the gunman left the scene. They say they believe the shooting was gang related.

The gunman, Chicago police said, was after Jonylah's father, Jonathan Watkins, who has an extensive criminal record and remains hospitalized from the shooting.

"This appears to be a targeted incident. It was very clear that whoever was doing this was firing at the father and exclusively at the father," said Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

Jonylah's mother is letting others talk for her right now, but the family wants justice.

"Please, whoever did this turn yourself in," said Jonylah's aunt, Erica Young. "My niece didn't do anything wrong. I don't understand why someone would do this."

Despite the pressure from the community to find the killer and witnesses to come forward, as of Tuesday evening, police had no one in custody.


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