Tragedy struck over the weekend in South Bend, Indiana, after a 7-year-old girl was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting.
The young girl was among at least 60 people celebrating another child’s birthday on Donald Street.
After gathering inside for cake, the group made their way outside, and less than a minute later, shots were fired from a passing vehicle.
“I would say about 20 seconds after we came outside, we hear gunshots, ‘Pow, Pow, Pow,'” SlyLavecchio Hines, the victim’s uncle, told the South Bend Tribune.
Despite his attempts to shield his niece from the gunfire, Chrisyah Stephens was struck shortly before 7:45 pm.
“I ran, and I was trying to grab her, to block her from the bullets,” Hines explained. “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.”
Officials were called to the scene, but by the time they arrived, the girl was “in very serious condition.” She was rushed to a local hospital but could not be saved.
“Initial information received was that multiple shots were fired from a vehicle driving past the home,” A St. Joseph County Metro Homicide official said in a statement. “Although there were numerous people in front of the home when the shooting occurred, the child was the only person hit by the gunfire.”
Four people were shot in South Bend by Sunday, with almost” 100 people shot criminally this year,” Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski said. “Life doesn’t have to be and should’ 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,” he said.