COMPTON, Calif. (CNS/FOX 11) - The search for whoever shot to death a year-old girl in Compton continued today, with a $25,000 reward on offer for information that that leads to an arrest and conviction for the baby's slaying.
Compton Mayor Aja Brown announced the reward Wednesday, saying the shooting of little Autumn Johnson was "a tragedy that no parent should ever have to face. There is no justification for this horrendous tragedy,'' he said.
There is no excuse that anyone can give for taking the life of a precious baby girl who had not even begun to realize her full potential in life.'' Brown urged the public to help the victim's "family achieve justice'' by contacting "local law enforcement officials if you know anything about this crime and the suspects sought.'' Anyone with information on the shooting was urged to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500 or Crime Stoppers
at (800) 222-TIPS.
Witnesses told sheriff's investigators that Tuesday night's attack was carried out by two males in a dark four-door sedan, with one of the suspects opening fire into a home's garage, which had been converted into a living area, said Deputy Trina Schrader of the Sheriff's Information Bureau.
The car was described as a newer model blue four-door Chevrolet Impala. Detectives believe the shooting was gang-related.
One report indicated the intended target might have been the girl's father, who apparently has gang ties, according to news reports. The infant, who suffered a round to the head while in her crib, was not the target of the attackers, according to authorities.
Deputies were dispatched at 6:58 p.m. Tuesday to the area of East San Marcus Street and North Holly Avenue in response to a report of several shots fired, said Sgt. Ulysses Cruz of the sheriff's Compton Station. Because fire department paramedics had not arrived, the deputies rushed the infant to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where she was pronounced dead.
The site of Tuesday's shooting, about a block from Roosevelt Elementary School, is one of the more violent neighborhoods in Los Angeles County, according to crime data compiled by the Los Angeles Times. In the last six months, Compton has had 475 violent crimes, including eight homicides, according to The Times' database.
From Zohreen Adamjee:
Compton Mayor Aja Brown plead for the community to come forward with information about the people who killed one-year-old Autumn Johnson Tuesday night.
She says next Tuesday, Compton City Council will vote on a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
On Wednesday, grieving family members told FOX 11 about losing Autumn.
"This has devastated our family. This is the first death in our family. And for such a young life to be taken is ridiculous. These killings are senseless," said Autumn's aunt, Kenyia Hicks.
Around 7 p.m. Tuesday night, Autumn and her mother Blanche were in their garage home on Holly Avenue when witnesses say a man walked up and started shooting.
The shots went through the garage door, striking the toddler in her head.
"She had a hole right above her eye," said her great uncle, Cornell Patton.
Witnesses told Sheriff's Deputies they saw two men leave in a four door sedan. Autumn was rushed to St. Francis Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.
Sheriff's Deputies say this is likely a gang related shooting and the father, Darrell, is a documented gang member.
Family members aren't talking about the alleged ties but say nothing explains why an innocent life was stolen from them.
From Gigi Graciette:
"If black lives matter man then let's make it matter" ~ Cornell Patton, Great-Uncle of Autumn, one-year-old shot to death in Compton
Her name was Autumn but those who loved her called the tiny little girl "Mini".
"She was peace", said her Great-Aunt Kenyia Hicks. "All you had to do was look at her and you felt such a sense of peace".
Last night the peace of a family and an entire community was shattered when some soul-less _________ shot up the Compton home (and the neighbors house too) where Autumn Johnson lived.
Mini was in her crib, her mother Blanche nearby preparing a bottle for her when the bullets started flying into the converted garage where they lived.
The little girl didn't stand a chance, taking a bullet to the head.
For all intents and purposes, the gunman stood over her crib and shot her in the head.
When LA County Sheriff Deputy's arrived at the Compton home they knew that time was of the essence and they rushed the baby to the hospital in their patrol car.
Sadly she died there.
And the baby killer? He jumped back into a car and together with a male driver sped away. Both men are described only as African-Americans.
Homicide detectives say they know this shooting was gang-related and that Autumn's father was really the target.
The killers may have missed their man but they killed a lot of people last night. A part of each member of Mini's family dying right alongside her.
Just last week her family was celebrating Mini's first birthday.
Today they're planning her funeral.
It's not right.
What's also not right is that someone out there knows who the killer is. Criminals don't keep secrets. Hopefully that person will do the right thing and tell police.
All lives matter. Autumn's life mattered.
Autumn's family has started a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses: https://www.gofundme.com/8kr3bc75
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau, (323) 890-5500; or Crime Stoppers, (800) 222-TIPS.