Jonylah Watkins' father talks to Chicago police

March 15, 2013 2:50:08 PM PDT
The family of 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins is thanking people for the outpouring of support they've received since the baby was killed earlier this week.

Several good Samaritans have come forward to cover the cost of the funeral arrangements.

With her killer still at large, the family of 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins still struggles with their grief.

"I do appreciate the love and support that everybody's showing, but I'm not doing not doing well," said Mary Young, Jonylah's grandmother.

Tuesday services for the baby will be at a South Side church in the same neighborhood where the child and her father were attacked by a gunman less than a week ago.

Jonylah died after she and her father were shot Monday afternoon in the 6500 block of South Maryland Avenue as he changed her diaper in a minivan.

Burial arrangements are being donated by Spencer Leak and his funeral home. A 3-foot-long casket has been special ordered for baby Jonylah.

"My heart went out to them," Leak said. "I have grandchildren of my own. It broke my heart to see a 6-month-old child being shot to death."

On Monday afternoon, Watkins was changing his daughter's diaper in his minivan near 65th and Maryland when a gunman opened fire. Both Watkins and his 6-month-old baby were hit by bullets. Jonylah died the next day after doctors struggled for hours to try to save her life.

Thursday night, the baby's father, who was also wounded in the shooting, was released from the hospital.

Jonathan Watkins talked to detectives at the Chicago Police Department's Area South Headquarters after claims the 28-year-old, who is a known gang member with a lengthy criminal record, was not cooperating with police.

Family spokesperson Pastor Corey Brooks escorted Watkins.

"Jonathan was open and forthright about the information that they asked," said family spokesperson Pastor Corey Brooks, who escorted Jonathan Watkins. "He answered all their questions, he gave them all the information that they needed."

Friday afternoon, some still flocked the Woodlawn neighborhood where tragedy struck in support of the baby's family and to pray that the killing stops.

Kimberly Commons has lost two sons to gun violence, her youngest Devon on the same day Hadiya Pendleton was killed.

"I'm hoping I can meet the mother one day, I hope I can pray for her and get healed cause it's going to take a long, long time," Commons said.

By catching the killer, Chicago police are also hoping to avoid a cycle of gang retribution for the shooting.

"We had a very, very strong deployment," Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said. "And not just in the vicinity of the two gangs that we believed that are involved in this conflict, but in the vicinity of all the gangs in that area. This is going to be a hot topic."

Residents in the Woodlawn neighborhood want the violence to end.

An $11,000 reward is being offered for information that will result in the arrest and conviction of the shooter.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. at Pastor Brooks' church -- New Beginnings Church at 66th and King Drive.

Visitation is Monday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Leak Funeral Home at 78th and Cottage Grove.


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