Updated 03/19/12 – 4:53 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The mother of a 6-year-old girl who was gunned down in front of her Little Village home over the weekend said the two purported gang members charged with murder are “not people, they’re animals.”
Choking back tears as she spoke to reporters in her daughter’s bedroom, Diana Aguilar said she was untangling her daughter’s curly hair on Saturday when two teenagers pulled up in a pickup truck, shouted gang slogans, and opened fire, killing her 6-year-old daughter, Aliyah Shell.
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports two purported gang members — 16-year-old Luis Hernandez and 18-year-old Juan Barraza — each have been charged with one count of murder and two counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm in the deadly shooting.
At a bond hearing for the pair on Monday, prosecutors said the teenagers were out to kill a rival gang member when they opened fire outside Aliyah’s home as she sat with her 2-year-old sister, her mother and her mother’s boyfriend on the steps in front of her house in the 3100 block of South Springfield Avenue on Saturday.
Authorities have said a pickup truck approached the house at about 3:35 p.m., when it stopped in the street, someone reached out of the window, pointed a gun at the four people at the house, and opened fire.
“She didn’t deserve this. A 6-year-old little girl didn’t deserve this. She didn’t even see it coming. She didn’t even get a chance to run. She didn’t get a chance to do nothing,” Aguilar said Monday as she clutched a picture of Aliyah. “She was just minding her own business in between my legs as I untangled her hair, because she had beautiful curly hair and it would get nappy, so I was untangling it for her.”
According to prosecutors, Hernandez fired the shots that killed Aliyah, while Barraza was driving the truck.
Aguilar said she tried to protect her two children when the gunman opened fire, but she couldn’t save Aliyah.
“Everything happened so fast, that I just knocked my 2-year-old down on her back and I hugged Aliyah and I hugged her so tight, hoping that it would hit me,” Aguilar said. “I wish that all of those bullets would have hit me, but they didn’t. They hit my poor baby.”
Prosecutors said Hernandez and Barraza are members of the Latin Kings street gang. Hernandez allegedly confessed to police that he was ordered to shoot and kill a member of the rival Two-Six Killers gang.
Aliyah’s family denied having any gang ties and said they had no idea why they were targeted by the suspects.
“Their thing was to kill. To kill what? My 6-year-old? What did she do to you? What did she do to the world? What did she to do anybody, but smile? Be a good kid? Love school? Just love life? She doesn’t have that opportunity anymore, because they took it from her,” Aguilar said.
Hernandez and Barraza were allegedly caught on videotape leaving the truck used in the shooting. When Hernandez was questioned by police, he allegedly admitted he saw Aliyah and her sister on the front steps of the home with their mother and the mother’s boyfriend before he opened fire.
“They’re not people, they’re animals. They’re animals, because a human being, a person with a heart would never do this, so they’re not people,” Aguilar said. “They’re animals for doing this to my baby.”
Barraza was ordered held on $2 million bail. Bond was denied for Hernandez.
According to prosecutors, Hernandez was wanted on a juvenile warrant for a probation violation stemming from an aggravated robbery conviction. Barraza has no criminal history.
Police said Aliyah was shot twice in the spray of bullets aimed at her home. She was pronounced dead Saturday evening at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Her death left her mother inconsolable.
“What am I going to do? What am I going to do without my baby? Can someone please bring her back to me, please I beg you,” Aguilar said, weeping. “She didn’t deserve this. Look at this. This is my baby, my baby. I need her back with me.”
Aguilar said one of the hardest parts of all this is Aliyah’s 2-year-old sister, who survived the shooting, keeps asking where Aliyah is; and Aguilar doesn’t know how to tell her Aliyah is gone.
Aliyah was one of 10 people who were shot and killed in Chicago over the weekend. At least 40 others were wounded by gunfire.