A Ferguson, Mo. family is desperate for answers after the shooting death of a 9-year-old girl identified as Jamyla Bolden.
Jamyla was shot and killed on Tuesday while doing homework on her mother’s bed, KMOV reports. Hearing five gunshots, Jamyla’s grandmother ran into the bedroom to find Jamyla hit and her mother – whose name was not released – shot in the leg.
The grandmother, whose name was also withheld for her safety, said Jamyla was still breathing when police arrived, the St. Louis Dispatch reports.
“I was holding her the whole time,” the grandmother said of the child Wednesday. “I kept holding and holding her, she was still breathing. I was telling her to just breathe.”
The St. Louis County coroner confirmed the girl later died from gunshot wounds. Her mother was treated for her injuries and released from the hospital. The family says they live in an area where a lot of people use a pass-through trail between West Florissant Avenue and Ellison Drive. The shooting happened near where 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed last year.
Jamyla’s father, Pastor Willis Johnson, is devastated. Since last year, the pastor has worked closely with community leaders to end violence in Ferguson.
“There needs to be a reevaluation of human life: [whether] black, white, young, seasoned, whether in Ferguson, or areas considered affluent,” said Johnson. “This has to stop. This epidemic of lost life under false pretense and of no real significant reason has to change.”
Jamyla was a fourth-grader at Koch Elementary. Riverview Garden schools spokeswoman Melanie Powell-Robinson says the 9-year-old was excited to share her summer readings with her classmates.
“She was very sweet, kind and soft-spoken,” Powell-Robinson said. “We’re trying to figure out why in the world did this happen. We just can’t make sense of this.”
Ferguson Police Chief Andre Anderson released a statement assuring the public that authorities are investigating the senseless shooting. So far, there are no suspects or leads.
There will be a fundraiser for the child on Monday in Ferguson.
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