6-Month-Old Baby Girl Jonylah Watkins Dies after Chicago Drive-By Shooting
A 6-month-old infant who was shot along with her father on Chicago’s South Side on Monday has died of her injuries in a local hospital.
Jonylah Watkins was shot five times as her father, 29-year-old Jonathan Watkins, changed her diaper in the front seat of a van at the family’s home in the 6500 block of South Maryland Avenue in Woodlawn around 12:48 p.m. on Monday. A gunman approached the pair and opened fire, hitting Jonylah in her lung, liver, leg, shoulder and intestines and wounding Jonathan in his side, buttock and face. The shooter then fled the scene in a van waiting in a nearby parking lot.
“This morning the baby passed away,” Rev. Corey Brooks told the Chicago Tribune. “We have another tragedy in the city of Chicago.” According to the Tribune, Jonylah was pronounced dead at 6 a.m. on Tuesday at Comer Children’s Hospital. She’d undergone hours of surgery but hospital spokesman John Easton told reporters that one of the gunshot wounds had proved fatal.
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told reporters that detectives have interviewed the slain infant’s father, who is recovering from surgery and is “in a lot of pain.” McCarthy said that police were “pursuing several angles,” including that the drive-by was gang-related.
“It appears he’s the intended victim, exclusively the father,” McCarthy said of Watkins.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, police are also investigating whether the shooting was prompted by “an angry post on Facebook.”
Overall, McCarthy said that investigators have few leads in the case and that they “don’t have one individual who’s stepping up to help us.”
Relatives told the Tribune that Jonylah’s mother, who had been shot in the leg while pregnant with the girl, was working at McDonald’s at the time of the drive-by.
“She’s very distraught, she’s in a lot of pain,” Rev. Brooks, who is acting as a spokesman for Jonylah’s family, said.
Brooks’ New Beginnings Church in Woodlawn is offering up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of Jonylah’s killer.
“We’re going to take back our neighborhood,” Brooks told the Tribune. “We’re going to find who did this.”
The area where Jonylah and her father were shot saw more than two dozen shootings last year, although it has been somewhat safer in the first couple of months of 2013. Still, residents told reporters that they felt like they were living in a war zone.
“I don’t even let them go outside,” 54-year-old Sedell Brown said of her two granddaughters. Brown told the Sun-Times that she plans on moving the family to a safer neighborhood. “I’m already packing… I’m praying that I live to see 55. They shot a 6-month-old baby. You know they wouldn’t give a damn about me.”
Dominique Young, who is related to Jonylah, told ABC Chicago that “there is always someone getting shot in this neighborhood.”
“We are close together and we know them. There are killings all the time,” she said.
Tagged 6-month-old killed in Chicago, 6-month-old shot, chicago homicides, chicago murders, garry mccarthy, gun violence, Johnylah Watkins, Jonathan Watkins, Jonylah Watkins, Rev. Corey Brooks, shooting deaths