A 1-year-old girl was shot in the face while lying in her crib late Tuesday evening when a gunman opened fire on her family’s home in Compton, California, during a suspected gang dispute.
The girl, Autumn Johnson, who had just celebrated her first birthday with her parents last week, was struck in the head when the gunman got out of his car, walked toward the home and fired, according to the Los Angeles Times. One witness who declined to give her name said that she called 911 after she heard several gunshots followed by a woman screaming, “They shot my baby. They shot my baby.”
After she walked outside, the witness said she saw the baby’s father spring out from the garage with his daughter in his arms as he sobbed, saying, “Someone take my baby to the hospital,” the Times reported.
The deputies rushed Autumn to the Saint Francis Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead, KNBC-TV reported.
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) February 10, 2016
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department stated that the shooting appeared to be gang-related, though the circumstances are still being investigated. Although no suspects have yet been named, detectives stated that witnesses described the gunmen as two black men who escaped in a dark-colored, four-door sedan, KTLA-TV reported.
“It looks like somebody drove up and were shooting into the house at somebody else and the baby caught a stray round,” LAPD Lt. John Corrina told KTLA.
Roughly a dozen people were gathered at Kingdom Life Christian Fellowship church for a meeting just two blocks away from where the shooting took place at the time the shots were fired. Audric Crenshaw, 47, who attended the Bible study, was shocked to hear of Autumn’s death.
“It’s not surprising because it’s the city of Compton, for its name,” Crenshaw told the Times. “But it’s surprising to me because it’s a baby,” adding, “I put my faith in God, not what’s in the streets.”
During the past six months, Compton has suffered 475 violent crimes, including eight homicides, the Times noted, although the casualties suffered are fewer than they were in 1989, when the city experienced 86 homicides, as the Washington Post noted. This most recent death was not the first time that a young child had been caught in the fray. In 2012, a gang member pulled out his revolver and opened fire on a family, killing a 14-month-old boy who was sleeping in his father’s arms while also wounding his father. The killer, Donald Ray Dokins, was sentenced to 90 years in prison for murder.
“Compton has a bad reputation, but things have been better around here,” said Dan Martin, 53, who has lived in Compton his entire life, according to the Times. “It’s wrong whether it’s a baby or a man or anyone. We’ve had enough bloodshed around here, don’t you think?”
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