City leaders speak out after baby shot and killed

Gang violence has claimed the life of a 6-month-old baby.

The child’s father survived. Police say he was the intended target.  They say he has yet to enlighten police which is not helping solve the murder of his own daughter.

Jonylah Watkins was inside a minivan on the city’s south side yesterday afternoon. Her father, Jonathan,  was changing the child’s diaper when gun shots rang out and the infant was struck multiple times. She underwent several surgeries at Comer Children’s Hospital and died today.

Today the child’s mother visited the crime scene surrounded by family and friends.

The baby’s father remains at Northwestern Hospital, police say still unable to help with the investigation.

As police search for young Jonylah’s killer, they are trying to find anyone who  saw something yesterday to help take one more gunman off the street.

“At this point we don’t really have a good cooperating witness,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said.

20th Ward Alderman Willie Cochran took an unconventional approach to reducing gang violence. With some help, he says has spoken to  gang leaders telling them not to protect anyone killing the innocent caught in gang crossfire.

Mayor Emanuel also spoke out on the shooting and called it “senseless and despicable.”

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35 comments

  • bill o'rights

    Gee, I think you guys need stricter gun control in Chicago.

    Just look how effective your gun control has been. How did this one slip through the cracks?

  • SHEILA

    THIS IS THE WORSE OF THE WORSE. BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY BY THE ELECTRIC CHAIR AND I GUARANTEE THERE WONT BE SO MANY FREAKIN MURDERS AFTER THAT!!!!!! I AM TOTALLY PISSED AND HURT AFTER HEARING ABOUT THAT POOR BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CHICAGO ILLINOIS SUCK SUCK SUCK!!!!!!!!!! POLITICIANS ARE CORRUPT, POLICE ARE CORRUPT AND IT HAS BEEN THIS WAY FOR YEARS. I USE TO SEE THE COPS SELLING DRUGS AND COLLECTING MONEY FROM THE GANGBANGERS AND DRUG DEALERS AND IT WASNT A FREAKIN STING OR SET UP OR INDICTMENTS. IT WAS REAL COPS SELLING AND DRUGS AND COLLECTING MONEY AND IF YOU DIDNT PAY YOU GET YOUR AZZ WHIPPED AND SENT TO JAIL BECAUSE THEY MAY PUT A BAG OF WEED ON YOU AND SAY IT IS YOURS. YOU SHOULD CHECK THE PATROL CARS OH THEY KEEP A STASH IN THERE.

    • bobhamiltonchicago

      Sheila, It appears that you're mad at the Chicago Police Department and the City of Chicago, but you did not mention the Gangster Disciples or any other criminal element out on the streets with felony convictions. Yet you collect your government checks and Link card and free health care without complaining too much about that. I'm not going to try to correct your spelling or grammar because I know that it was brave of you to try to communicate in English in the first place. The father of the baby killed, Johnathan Watkins, is refusing to help the police catch the killer of his daughter! He has been arrested 39 times before being shot and while I understand that "he was trying to turn his life around" and is a "lifelong resident of Chicago, Your Honor", but how did his daughter get shot more times than he did if she was being blocked by his body, unless he jumped behind her? This is another case of thugs killing thugs, which can only be considered a good thing for society, and the poor baby is was a predictable casualty of this behavior, especially with daddy hiding behind her. I will give Watkins credit for at least trying during the last minutes before the shooting, to be a responsible parent by changing the girl's diapers.

  • anonymous

    I know the city officials don’t wanna hear this but i know who could squash all this gang shooting in chicago …….. LARRY HOOVER tuck ya tails in and reach out to that man cuz he bout the only one them knuckle heads go listen to.

    • bobhamiltonchicago

      Larry Hoover? The King of the Growth and Development? OK. Ask Larry Hoover to help out. Hi, Mr Hoover? There is a problem in the hood with thugs killing thugs and we were wondering if you could tell them to stop?

  • ALLEN_J

    Such a tragedy. But, when dad is a gang banger ahd has a record as long as your arm, you have to ask yourself, why is he on the street? What went wrong here? Is it that Judges are too lenient? Is it that prosecuters are cutting too many deals? Are prosecuters being pressured by local government to cut deals and not put these people in Jail because that would lead to overcrowding and pressure on the budget? Sure, this guy should be put away. Unfortunately, our judicial system should be taking a large part of the blame here. If this guy wasn't on the street, this baby would still be alive. Again, criminals using illegal weapons on the street that the Chicago Police won't or are afraid to get off the street. Feel sorry for you Chicago.

  • cameron hardy

    My Question To Chicago news crew or whatever is why after every shooting , ITS AN ACT OF GANG VIOLENCE. " Gang Violence" was the first thing i saw in the report. Gang or not its another humans life being taken away. You guys make me sick saying every shooting is gang violence or even if it wasn't , the media always make sure to say if the person was in a gang or not. for example , the Hadiya Pendelton case, the media always mentioned she wasnt in a " GANG" so what you are saying is that someone who is in a gang life is not valued the same as a person who isn't in a gang? Im a 17 year senior and notices everything the media is putting out there. Just think about it, almost every shooting that occurred on south or west side of chicago, it is said to be gang violence or a relation to gang violence. I truely don't believe every killer is in a Gang…….SMH media today

    • Sickofit

      It was once a great place. Now it is overrun with scumbags who have zero respect for life and who don't want to elevate themselves up and out. So sick of the cycle of poverty and "systemic" racism excuses. Time for this community to come together, rise against the gangs slithering around like the cowards they are and start taking care of themselves and most importantly their children. Pipe dream, I know. So sick of seeing beautiful children and young people gunned down…

  • GhettoTrash

    My question is … why did the father survive with what are essentially minor injuries but the baby was literally slaughtered? Something is VERY fishy here. Bet "dad" had something to do with it. Probably didn't want to pay child support.

    • messyjacksonjr

      that's it,i dont wanna pay child support so im gonna have POOKIE come through the gangway and shoot the baby and blast me a couple times to mke it look convincing,but he gotta shoot me in the face atleast one time thats the only way we gonn pull this off…….You fuckng IDIOTS are retarded,this man had nothing to do with this.You need to lay of whatever yousmoking and take a look at yourself cause you lookin real STUPID

  • Georgie

    we need national guard in the CHI the dad had to hold her up and use he for a shield there is no way she was layin down getting her pamper changed and got shot that many times . freaking heart breaking and sad my heart is really hurting

  • sundoffchi1

    Mr Mayor what are you going to do with this epedemic of GUN VIOLENCE In the City its got to stop. A precious six month old BABY WOW._R.I.P. BABY Johneyela. Yes Georgie I beeive the baby was a shield also.

  • NO MORE GANGS

    The community knows the people in their neighborhoods, they know the gangs etc. Stand up to them and start putting pressure on them. The City should also put out a large reward on that person(s). The police needs to be tough on the gangs and make their miserable, bring them in for interrogation and non stop questioning. Stand up for your community, the gloves come off now, it stops here.

  • Sickofit

    Arrest the dad. That poor baby's death is all his fault either through his affiliation with gangs or because like another poster commented because he didn't want to be responsible for the child.

  • sparks

    The gunman needs better aim. Why put 5 in the baby when the intended victim is there, The victim use the baby as a shield..

  • SenSei

    He had to be being watched or followed but either way if he knew he had issues with someone then he should have taken some precautions and repositioned himself buy perhaps rectifying the matter before it led to this possibility/inevitability, perhaps an attempt robbery or murder for hire? Theres this new thing out with these guys in the streets called "WIld'n Out", or "I Bet You Won't" so to speak where the shooter may have been tyring to impress someone, either way a warped mind has warped behavior and like attracts like. A grade or high school education means nothing to the youth if they are not learning at home and community to value human life starting with their own. Its all a waste and will continue unless reprioritizing is done. Retrospectively. The Gang leaders can greatly enfluence the acts of these persons but theres a glitch to prevent it so that's the impediment otherwise could have kept that baby alive.

  • kirby1414

    This is a very heart breaking story. But, I feel that both parents are responsible for this baby's death. Any "mother" that would put her baby in the care of a gang banger that has been arrested over 30 times is NOT a rsponsible parent. I would arrest BOTH of them. And she just married him 2 weeks ago…and she was shot in the leg when she was pregnant. What about the situation: *gang banger *attested over 30 times *shot while pregnant – and probably things that we don't know – Sounded the least bit REASONABLE to her??? This is where you want your life to be – for you and your baby??? The safest, most responsible way to live your life and raise your child???

    BOTH OF THESE P[EOPLE NEED TO BE ARRESTED. AND THE 'FATHER; KNOWS WHO SHOT HIM- – of course he does!!

  • ddavis

    Totally agree that dad knowswho shot him I know you shouldn't lay blame but, motther and father both sad I know they hurting right now I feelfor them that baby didn't deserve this. Now they both still here and their baby is gone.They both need to change their lives before it's to late his ASS to old talking about a gang you see where it got you and your boys wren't even there when you needed needed them .SO SAD but yet my prayers are with both of may God Bless U

  • justice4jonylah

    First of all,

    Stop speaking on things that you don't know anything about. He was NOT a gang member. The reason he's being labeled as that is to make the police not have to do their actual job! When you label something as "gang related" it's easier to sweep it under the rug.

    Secondly,

    The mother was caught in cross fire, which had nothing to do with her being a gang member. It's the neighborhood in which she lives in.

    Lastly,
    He didn't put his daughter at risk. If the neighborhood is in the middle of a gang war, and he's open and out in the neighborhood, he'll be targeted because it's easy to get him.

    People think that they know everything that goes on in these neighborhoods but they really don't. Stop being so quick to believe what the media tell you.

    Justice for Jonylah!

    • Randy

      I call BS on that one, the dad and the baby were shot at close range and it was not a crossfire. And yes the scum bag dad is in a gang. It's you that doesn't know what their talking about.

    • God Bless

      Born and raised over there, I read these comments and these people don't have a clue. The Media don't tell the truth and people listen and run with it. I been crying over and over for Jonylah, and all I see is negative comments maybe somebody need to hit one of there babies and see how it feels for people to say you were using the baby as a shield. People think because they don't stay in that state or in crime areas it can't happen to them.

      • Astonished

        "Someone should hit one of their babies". Yea….you sound like you're from that area….ridiculous. And you are dead correct…people do think living in a different area will mean it won't happen to them. We can't all be in make believe world.

  • Mike Schmidt

    Kudos Julie getting this story right!!! Chicago doesn't have a gun problem it has a GANG problem masquerading as a gun problem. Father is a known gang member with a list history of criminal actions and was the target

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