Father shoots, kills toddler

August 28, 2009 (GARY, Ind.) The man remained hospitalized Friday in intensive care and under police guard in nearby Merrillville, Ind.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Toddler dies after father shoots her in chest

The father has been identified as Cordell Richardson, and police have identified the toddler as Eboni Richardson, 19 months, who died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

The tragedy unfolded near the U.S. Steel Yard at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, an hour before a minor league baseball game, as relatives prepared to pick up Eboni from her father.

According to police, the child's father agreed to meet her uncle in a parking lot of a popular downtown Gary eatery after he failed to show up to give the baby to her mother. Detectives say, as the family members approached the man's black SUV, he, without warning, shot his infant daughter in the chest and then turned the small-caliber handgun on himself, firing a single round into his own head.

"The father, for reasons unknown, took out a revolver, shot his daughter one time, and then turned the gun on himself," said Gary Police Spokeswoman Gabrielle King.

Family members are remembering Eboni Richardson as a bright and loving little girl who brought them much joy.

"I can actually see her smile because of the moments we shared when she was here. We have to celebrate the time that she was here instead of her departure," said one relative who chose not to give his name to ABC7 Chicago. "Right now, all we need is to be together, really trying to not focus on the situation and the death."

"It's hard. It's really hard. We're trying to stay prayerful, stay strong. Family is what we need," said relative Christina Ratney.

Police say the weapon used in the attack has been recovered.

Efforts to transport the child to the hospital were complicated when the relatives' car broke down. They got into the father's black SUV and transported both him and the child to the hospital.

The child was pronounced dead a short time later.

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