News & Politics

Chicago Nightmare Violence Continues: Baby Girl Shot 5 Times Had Survived Earlier Shooting While Still in the Womb

A six-month-old baby and her father were shot in Chicago yesterday--the latest shooting that highlights the scourge of gun violence in the city.

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A six-month-old baby and her father were shot in Chicago yesterday. The baby died this morning, while her father remains in critical condition. Jonylah, the baby, and her father, Jonathan Watkins, were shot on Chicago’s South Side while the father was changing diapers.

The baby was hit five times. "She's six months old. For a person to do that, what kind of heart?" asked Jonylah Watkins’ grandmother, as the local ABC station reports.

”Jonylah was in a minivan with her father Monday at the time of the shooting. Police say the father was changing the baby's diaper in the front seat when a gunman walked up and shot them both,” ABC News reports.

Police say the shooting may have been gang-related. The gunman has yet to be apprehended.

“Anytime you shoot someone, period, it is a very cowardly act. And for a baby to be shot, it is despicable, and for us to allow this to happen in our community and not be vocal about it, is just as bad,” said a local pastor.

It was the latest shooting to dramatize the scourge of gun violence in Chicago. As the Chicago Tribune reports, “More than two dozen shootings occurred within a few blocks of Monday's shooting through 2012, city crime statistics show.” The PBS Newshourrecently noted that “two months into 2013...the death rate from gun violence in Chicago has exceeded what it was this time last year.” 

Te girl's mother was shot while pregnant with her, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

Last year, the homicide rate in Chicago passed 500 for the first time since 2008, according to theAssociated Press. The 506 gun deaths in 2012 represented a 16 percent increase from the year before.

Who gets shot in Chicago is driven by economic status and race. The brunt of gun violence falls on low-income Black communities. And it is young people who are the most affected.

“From 2008 through 2012, nearly half of Chicago’s 2,389 homicide victims were killed before their 25th birthdays,” according to the Chicago Reporter, as ColorLinesnoted.

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.