A 9-year-old Wisconsin girl died after being hit by a stray bullet during a shooting less than a week after asking Milwaukee police to keep her safe.
Za’layia Jenkins was “legally pronounced dead” after she was shot in Milwaukee on May 5, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Authorities say Za’layia was in her house when she was caught in the crossfire of two opposing groups of armed shooters. A stray bullet pierced through the wall of the house and struck the girl. Police discovered more than 40 bullet casings at the scene of the crime.
She was rushed to a children’s hospital in critical condition. Za’layia was pronounced brain dead on May 16, where she remained alive on a ventilator before her organs would be donated.
The medical examiner told WITI an autopsy is pending.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said Za’layia asked him if the police could keep her safe. "Sadly, that question was answered tonight," Flynn told reporters.
According to a Facebook post by family friend, Tory Lowe, the girl’s family planned to have a rally for her on May 17.
The post read:
“9 year old ZALAYIA shot in the head during a shoot out in her neighborhood last week. Her birthday is coming up and her family is inviting the community to come out and support them. No one is currently in custody for the shooting. Lets help bring justice to this family. If any know any information on who is responsible please come forward. Also continue to pray for a speedy recovery for ZALAYIA JENKINS.”
Her family has also set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the medical expenses they’ve accrued. So far, they’ve reached $1,680 of a $25,000 goal in four days.
The page says Za’layia was raised by a single mother: “Destiny, Za'Layia's mother is a single mother who works outside of the home. Destiny has been by her daughter's side since the tragedy and has been unable to return to work. She needs financial support being a young and single mother with unexpected expenses.”
Za’layia would have turned 10 years old on May 17.