Man Suspected of Shooting Toddler Surrenders

Cynia Cole, 2, was shot in the head as she sat in family car Wednesday night

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Toddler's aunt is distraught. (Published Friday, Apr 23, 2010)

    The man who police say shot and killed a toddler as she sat with her two sisters in the back of a car Wednesday night on the South Side has turned himself in.

    Police said the man was targeting the girl's father.

    Cynia Cole, who was known as "Coco" by her family, was shot in the head in Chicago's Burnside neighborhood while sitting in the back seat of the car with her father and her two sisters, 8-month-old Amazing and 4-years-old Janiya.

    Family members are incensed.

    "She's only two years old.  She's a baby," her aunt, Karen Lyons said. “There's no reason this should have happened."

    Investigators believe the shooter was targeting the girl’s father, Jerome Hendricks, who has gang ties and was convicted of armed robbery in 2003.

    At around 11 p.m. Wednesday, Hendricks and his girls were sitting in a car outside their home on the 700 block of East 91st Place when a gunman stole out of an alley and shot into the trunk of the car. The bullet traveled through the back window of the car and through the back seat hitting Cole.

    The 4-year-old sister screamed that her sister was shot and the father sped away, leaving the mother, Alberta Cole, behind. 

    "I knew my baby was hit," he said, pointing to blood stains on his jacket, which he said were from his little girl. "I reached in to the back and held her with one arm while driving with the other."

    He said they made it back to their home, where the girl's grandmother -- a nurse -- applied pressure to the wounds until an ambulance arrived.

    The girl was taken to University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital with a critical head wound just behind one of her ears. 

    She passed away just before noon Thursday, the hospital said.

    Alberta Cole, who wasn't in the car because she had gone to buy cigarettes, said she recognized the shooter and gave a description to police. 

    Police indicated the shooting could be connected to a string of shootings in the neighborhood over the past few days. A 27-year-old man was shot on his porch Wednesday at a nearby home and another man was murdered in his car Tuesday morning.

    Neighbors said more needs to be done to police the neighborhood.

    "Its ridiculous they should put more cameras on the block," said Rhonda Cook, who lives nearby.

    Police issued an alert for the man’s arrest.

    A neighborhood group, Community Activists Against Gun Violence, had offered a $1,500 for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.

    "We've got to break the code of silence," said Andrew Holmes, the group's founder. "We've gotta wake up and take back the streets."