As violence continues to rise nationwide, a 7-year-old girl was fatally shot after gunfire erupted outside a birthday party in South Bend, Indiana, The Daily Caller reports.
Chrisyah Stephens was shot around 7:40 p.m. when multiple shots were fired from a vehicle driving by the home in South Bend. Chrisyah along with 60-70 people moved outdoors to celebrate the birthday of one of her relatives with ice cream and cake, SlyLavecchio Hines, Stephen’s uncle, told the South Bend Tribune.
“We were standing right here,” Hines told the Tribune while he pointed to the area where the shooting occurred. “I would say about 20 seconds after we came outside, we hear gunshots, ‘Pow, pow, pow.’”
“I ran and I was trying to grab her, to block her from the bullets,” Hines continued, according to the local news site. “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 seen the blood.”
Stephens was one of four shooting victims in South Bend last weekend and the city has already seen almost 100 people shot this year, according to a statement from the department’s police chief Scott Ruszkowski released on Sunday.
The three other victims were reportedly shot in separate incidents, law enforcement told the Tribune.
“Just this weekend, we’ve already had 4 people shot. One being an innocent 7-year-old girl, playing at a birthday party. We’re almost at 100 people criminally shot this year,” Ruszkowski said in the statement. “As a community, we can no longer accept this senseless violence and we all have to do our part.”
“South Bend had the highest number of violent crime incidents in Indiana last year, and the city experienced a 78% uptick in violent actions from 2018 to 2019, according to last year’s FBI data. Of the three cities the FBI analyzed for violent crime, South Bend had the lowest population, statistics show,” according to a report by The Daily Caller.
Homicides have risen 24% nationally in the 50 largest U.S. cities and shooting incidents have soared precipitously, according to analysis of data by the Wall Street Journal in the beginning of August. A total of 3,612 have been killed in the places analyzed and incident rates for robberies have fallen, WSJ reported.
The shooting is part of a rise in gun violence, riots and unrest in cities across the country this summer, following the death of George Floyd, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes May 25, video showed.