Community remembers 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins at visitation - New York News

Community remembers 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins at visitation

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The visitation for 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins, who was fatally shot one week ago in Woodlawn, was held Monday night at Leak Funeral Home on the South Side.

The baby girl was shot and killed while sitting in her family's van parked at 65th and Maryland in the Woodlawn area on week ago.

With security an issue of concern at Jonylah's visitation Monday, her mother Judy and father Jonathan were ushered in the back of the funeral home through a door on the alley. Even as they arrived, people were already standing in line out front for the visitation, an hour before it began.

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"It's heart breaking, I feel like the mom needs, she needs it all, she needs a hug," says Andrea Williams. "I don't know how it feels to lose a six month old baby, but I know how to lose a two year old brother to the streets."

A number of police officers were on hand for security reasons, because Jonylah was the victim of a gang-related shooting, which police said targeted her father Jonathan--who has an extensive arrest record and reported gang ties. He was also shot multiple times during the incident.

Pastor Corey Brooks has acted as family spokesman through this horrific ordeal. He and members of the community helped pay for Jonylah's funeral costs – the most high-profile being Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose, an Englewood native.

The local outrage that poured out as news of the child's death broke was overwhelming. St. Sabina pastor and community activist Fr. Michael Pfleger called for immediate action on social media, and suggested on FOX 32 News that this infant's tragic death might be the tipping point for the community - that she might be one of many causes for change.

Fr. Pfleger hopes that the culture of silence among those who know who is committing these heinous crimes may change to one where they turn in the gunmen and shooters using illegal weapons after they take the lives of innocent people - innocent children.

There are still no charges to report, though McCarthy indicates that he has no doubt an arrest will be made. Police say they are pursuing developments and Jonathan Watkins is cooperating.

"We think we have the story, we're just trying to prove it," McCarthy said Monday. "At this point, we think there's a lot more we think he can help us with, but he is in fact cooperating with the investigation."

McCarthy also clarified a lot of misinformation about what actually happened.

"First of all he was not changing the baby's diaper when this occurred and we found no evidence that the mother, his wife, was ever shot at," McCarthy said.

McCarthy also said the baby was only shot once, not five times as had been previously reported.

For those who came to the funeral home Monday night, the focus was not so much on the investigation, but on the tragedy for the family.

"It's heartbreaking for it to be a baby," says Rita Walker. "I lost my son in 93, and you know you come to pay your respects, it doesn't matter how old they are, it's the thought and this is very heartbreaking, a 6-month-old baby's life to be taken."

Jonylah Watkins' funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday morning at the New Beginnings Church.

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