Baby dies after she and father are shot in Chicago



CHICAGO — A 6-month-old girl died Tuesday morning, a day after she and her father were shot several times outside a home in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago, officials said.

Jonylah Watkins had undergone hours of surgery at Comer Children’s Hospital after she was shot early Monday afternoon. “This morning, the baby passed away,” said the Rev. Corey Brooks, a spokesman for the family, “We have another tragedy in the city of Chicago.”

The baby was pronounced dead at 6 a.m., according to the medical examiner’s office. Hospital spokesman John Easton said one gunshot wound caused the fatal injuries.

The girl’s father, Jonathan Watkins, 29, was shot in his left side and right buttock and sustained a graze wound to the face, police said. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious-to-critical condition, fire officials said.

Watkins is recovering after surgery and detectives have talked to him, but Superintendent Garry McCarthy told a news conference this morning he couldn’t say whether he was cooperating or not.

“He’s in a lot of pain,” McCarthy said.

The superintendent said detectives were “pursuing several angles,” including that the shooting was gang-related and Watkins was the intended target. “It appears he’s the intended victim, exclusively the father.”

His mother answered the phone in his hospital room Tuesday morning and said her son was in fair condition. “Right now, we’re sitting here consoling him,” she said.

McCarthy said police had few strong leads and no good witnesses coming forward. “We don’t have one individual who’s stepping up to help us,” he said.

McCarthy said they have only a vague description of the gunman who emerged from a gangway shortly before 1 p.m. and opened fire. Watkins was shot as he stood by the minivan’s open front passenger door changing his daughter’s diaper as she lay on the seat, police said.

The gunman fled to a nearby parking lot and jumped into a blue conversion van, which sped north through an alley, police said. Police were scouring the area for surveillance footage.

McCarthy said police have video of what they believe is the getaway van, “which is helpful.”

“This was another tragedy,” he said. “There’s going to be good days and there’s going to be bad days. This was a bad day.”

Family members said the girl’s 20-year-old mother was at work at a McDonald’s when the shooting happened. She had been shot in the leg last spring while pregnant with Jonylah, they said.

“She’s very distraught; she’s in a lot of pain,” Brooks said Tuesday morning. “They just got married several weeks ago. This is a tough time.

“We’re going to help find who did this,” said Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church in Woodlawn, which is offering up to $5,000 for information leading police to the gunman. “We’re going to take back our neighborhood. We’re going to find who did this.”