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6-month-old murdered in Chicago; hunt for the killer

Chicago (HLN) Wide eyed, full of innocence, a sweet, six month-old girl now dead.

Jonylah Watkins was shot five times in Chicago while her dad changed her diaper in the family van. Her dad, Jonathan Watkins, was also hit – the target of gang violence that has plagued the Windy City.

jonylah watkins

Just last year more than 500 people were killed in Chicago. To put the crime rate into perspective – check out these statistics: In January of 2013, 42 people were killed in Chicago. In January of 2009, during the height of Al Capone’s Gangland Era, there were 26 murders. Since 2001, there have been 2,187 American troops killed in Afghanistan. During that same period, more than 5,500 people have lost their lives on the streets of Chicago.

jonylah with dadThe latest funeral is now being planned for six-month-old Jonylah. Her dad is in the hospital and unable to help police identify the shooter. No one else is talking either, and that’s an equally troubling problem for police. In 2011, there were 433 murders; 305 of them remain unsolved.

One man has made it his crusade to put an end to this violence.

Andrew Holmes was shot nearly 20 years ago. The bullet punctured a major artery in his leg. Following a lengthy recovery, he’s become a well-known community advocate and rapid responder to violence.

andrew holmes

Andrew Homes – Community Activist

Holmes goes door to door in the roughest neighborhoods handing out flyers, demanding justice and calling for change in Chicago. He is credited with rescuing more than 50 young victims of kidnapping and human trafficking and helped police make arrests in more than a dozen high-profile murder cases.

His latest mission: to get the killer of a six month old girl off the streets and into prison.

Violence+Silence = Zero Justice For Baby Girl

sun timesIt’s been eight days since 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins was shot and killed on the streets of Chicago and still no arrests.

Friends, family and hundreds of people in the community attended her funeral today. They prayed, sang and told stories about the little girl they called “Smooch.”

Grief, anger and a call for justice echoed outside the Chicago church where Jonylah’s body lay in an open casket.

As for the investigation, there was some new information today from Chicago PD. Cops say they have surveillance video of the getaway van. While no one is in custody right now, the police department superintendent is confident that they will make an arrest in this case. HLN contributor Mike Brooks joined “Raising America With Kyra Phillips” to shed some light on exactly what it’s like for a Chicago police officer in 2013. So far, there have been 67 murders – nearly one a day.

funeral picJonylah was killed on South Marlyand Avenue on March 11. In just a 20 block radius from her murder, police are investigating 17 other killings this year alone. Expand the perimeter out 40 blocks and you’ll find add another 18 murders. The math is not in favor of the police department, especially with little or no help from witnesses.

Jonylah’s father, Jonathan, was in attendance at his daughter’s funeral just days after being released from the hospital. Police say he was the intended target. Johathan Watkins has known gang ties and has been arrested 39 times.

An $11,000 reward remains for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman in this case.

Written and produced by: Ben Bamsey for HLN’s “Raising America.”

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