Doctor: Shooting death of baby Jonylah Watkins a 'tragedy'

Jonylah Watkins

March 13, 2013 6:00:12 PM PDT
A team of doctors at Comer Children's Hospital struggled for 12 hours to try to save the life of 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins, but the damage was overwhelming.

Jonylah was shot several times as her father changed her diaper inside a vehicle in the 6500-block of South Maryland.

"This sweet baby had almost every organ system touched. Her lung was touched. Her liver was touched. Her diaphragm was destroyed," Dr. Rachel Wolfson said.

For 12 hours, doctors treated the baby in both the operating room and the intensive care unit. They say she was bleeding profusely and needed her blood volume replaced at least five times.

She was also resuscitated several times, doctors said, and at one point her bleeding slowed. Doctors say they were surprised they kept her alive as long as they did.

"The amount of resources we brought to bear to help her was immense," Dr. Mark Slidell said.

Jonylah died from her gunshot wounds Tuesday morning.

Her father, Jonathan Watkins, 29, was also injured. Police say he has an extensive criminal record and was the intended target.

"No matter how this happened, she's someone's baby, and grandbaby and niece and it's horrible. But in the moment, you just get the job done," Dr. Wolfson said.

"This was a beautiful child who didn't have a role in what happened to her. It's a tragedy to lose a child like this for any reason," Dr. Slidell said.

Funeral services for Jonylah will be held at New Beginnings Church at 6620 S. King Dr. on Tuesday, March 19. A wake will take place at 10 a.m., with the funeral to begin at 11 a.m.