A toddler from Compton, California, was killed in her crib after a bullet struck her in the head.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department, the shooting happened around 7 p.m. on Feb. 9. The toddler, 1-year-old Autumn Johnson, was in her crib when a bullet struck her in the face, according to witnesses. Autumn, who had recently celebrated her first birthday, ultimately died at St. Francis Hospital.
“When the deputies arrived on the scene, everyone was really emotional,” Lt. John Corina told KTLA.
According to Corina, witnesses said two black men had driven a four-door sedan towards the area and deliberately shot into the garage. Autumn and her family had been staying in a converted garage belonging to a relative.
"It looks like somebody drove up and were shooting into the house at somebody else and the baby caught a stray round," Corina said.
Homicide detectives report the shooting is most likely related to gang violence, and that the child's father may have been the intended target. Investigators are urging the public to disclose any information which may lead to proper identification of the suspects.
"I heard the shots maybe 10-12 shots," the Rev. Maurice Johnson told KNBC. "I assumed it was firecrackers. On this side of Compton, we don't hear gunshots very often."
Neighbors were heartbroken after hearing the news as many of whom have young children.
“All I heard were shots, I didn’t really want to come out and investigate myself,” a young woman told KTLA. “It’s really, really sad.”
“It is sad, because I have two twin boys and, it’s very sad,” a man said.
“I have a great-granddaughter, and she’s 2 years old and it scares me, you know,” an elderly man commented. “I don’t have no control over it.”
Activists are planning to watch the area closely to protect local residents from further related attacks.
"We're just going to make sure there's no retaliation, and more innocent people getting harmed as a result," said Ben Owens of Southern California CeaseFire.