According to police and reports, bullets fired from a passing vehicle crashed into a 7-year-old girl who was at another child's birthday party over an aggressive weekend in the city of South Bend, Ind.
The South Bend Tribune reported that on Saturday night, 60 people were celebrating another child's birthday on Donald Street in South Bend. The night shifted into the worst scenario once the children moved outside to gather for the cake.
“I would say about 20 seconds after we came outside, we hear gunshots, ‘Pow, pow, pow,’” SlyLavecchio Hines told the Tribune. His niece, later identified by WSBT 22 as Chrisyah Stephens, was struck by a bullet shortly before 7:45 p.m. “I ran and I was trying to grab her, to block her from the bullets,” Hines told the Tribune on Sunday. “But it was too late. As soon as I grabbed her, her body got heavy. I laid her down, I called her name, and then I saw the blood.”
In a statement to WSBT, a St. Joseph County Metro Homicide official said that the girl was “in very serious condition” when police arrived.
“Initial information received was that multiple shots were fired from a vehicle driving past the home,” the statement reads, according to the report. “Although there were numerous people in front of the home when the shooting occurred, the child was the only person hit by the gunfire.”
WSBT reported that Stephens was transported to an area hospital but could not be saved. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday morning. Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski said that by Sunday, four people were shot in South Bend, including Stephens.
“We’re almost at 100 people criminally shot this year,” he said, later adding: “Life doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be like this, but in order for it to stop, our community has to say and do something. These shootings can be avoided well before becoming a police matter.”
Ruszkowski and South Bend Mayor James Mueller are expected to hold a news conference on Monday.