An 11-year-old girl has died after she was struck in the head by a stray bullet over the weekend, one of two young victims shot in a matter of minutes in unrelated shootings on Chicago's South Side, her family said.
The cousin of Takiya Holmes, community activist Andrew Holmes, confirmed the young girl who had been clinging to life since Saturday evening, had passed away Tuesday morning. The Cook County Medical Examiner's office said it had not been notified of her death as of 9:45 a.m.
Takiya was shot in the city's Parkway Gardens neighborhood around 7:40 p.m. on Saturday evening, according to police.
Andrew Holmes said Monday the child was left "brain dead" by the shooting and feared there "may be no hope for her recovery."
“Everybody is giving her hugs and kisses but you know, there’s nothing coming back,” said Holmes.
“No function, no speaking, no sound, only thing we can do is just rub and kiss her,” he added.
Takiya was sitting in the backseat of her family’s minivan with her mother, aunt and 3-year-old brother when the shooting occurred. They were parked outside her mother's work, waiting for a co-worker, when they suddenly heard gunfire.
"Shots rang out, she told everybody to get down, and once they stopped, she asked was everybody OK and Takiya did not respond," her grandmother Patsy Holmes said.
Takiya was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, where she was placed on life support. Just weeks before she was shot, her cousin Rachel Williams said she had expressed concerns about Chicago’s violence after someone in their neighborhood was killed in a shooting.
“I talked to her two days after, and for her to sit there and say she was scared of getting shot,” Williams said.
Patsy Holmes said family, friends, Takiya's youth group and even the principal of Schmid Elementary School, where she was a student, came to visit the granddaughter she described as courteous, thoughtful and lively.
Now, the family is asking for anyone with information on the incident to come forward. A well-known anti-violence advocate who lost his own daughter in a 2015 shooting in Indianapolis, Andrew Holmes said he is offering a $1,000 reward to help find Takiya’s shooter.
"It’s grim and we want prayers to go up for her," Patsy said. "We want whoever saw what happened to tell the police. This is happening too much in Chicago."
Just 25 minutes before Takiya was shot, a 12-year-old girl became another unintended shooting victim in the city’s West Englewood neighborhood.
Kanari Gentry-Bowers was playing basketball on the playground at Henderson Elementary School when someone in a nearby car opened fire, according to police and her family.
One of the bullets struck Kanari in the right side of the neck, according to her family, shattering her spine. She remains on life support at Stroger Hospital.
“The bullet passed through her brain stem,” said 15th Ward Ald. Ray Lopez, who represents the area where Kanari was shot and visited her at the hospital Monday morning. “We are hopeful that we will see some brain activity. Further tests will reveal that tomorrow.”
“Any time one of our children is shot, it is a priority,” Lopez said, adding that her shooting stemmed from an argument between rival gangs.
Lopez planned to go door-to-door in the area of the shooting Monday evening in hopes of gathering information, as police continue to investigate, canvassing the area and searching for any surveillance video.
“The key to all murders in the community [is] the community knows… who the shooter is,” Andrew Holmes said.
No one is in custody in connection with either incident and anyone with information is asked to contact Chicago police.