CHICAGO (CBS) — Newsradio spoke with one of the physicians who tried to save 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins in her final hours.
“The damage to her very small body and all of her organ systems was really overwhelming,” said Dr. Rachel Wolfson of Comer Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Wolfson stepped in after Jonylah had had her first round of surgery and through her second surgery.
And then, she says, Jonylah’s heart could not keep up.
“When you’re in the moment doing your job, you have to just do your job. But it doesn’t change the fact that every time you look down at the bed, that’s somebody’s baby.
“So when it comes down to it, we all just love our kids and want them to be safe…
“Any time I go home from the ICU, no matter if it’s this or something that’s not violence-related, I go home and I hug my kids real tight. And remember how lucky I am.”
Dr. Wolfson says a mentor of hers expressed it perfectly: There but for the grace of God go I.”
A number of Chicago aldermen have taken the unusual step of directly appealing for help to gang leaders in their search for the killer of a six-month-old girl who died after she and her father were shot this week.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Ald. Willie Cochran (20th), a former police officer, was so incensed by the shooting death of 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins that he reached out to street gangs to tell them it’s unacceptable for anyone to help or hide the gunman responsible.
“We’ve talked with some of the gang leaders, and we’ve talked about how important it is for them to not harbor offenders that they know are offenders who have committed crimes associated with innocent victims,” Cochran said.
Jonylah died at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital on Tuesday morning. She had been in the hospital’s intensive care unit, after undergoing surgery for multiple gunshot wounds on Monday.
She and her father, Jonathan Watkins, were shot Monday afternoon as Watkins was standing in the open passenger’s door to a minivan, changing Jonylah’s diaper in the 6500 block of South Maryland Avenue. A gunman approached him from behind, and opened fire.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Tuesday that the shooting is very likely gang related, but police don’t have a strong witness at this point. Investigators believe Jonathan Watkins was targeted, and Jonylah was an innocent victim of warring gangs.
It might be unusual for Chicago aldermen to appeal directly to those on the wrong side of the law, but Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said, after Jonylah’s murder, it’s important for gangs to know the public won’t tolerate anyone working to hide her killer.
“We have everybody working together, and it does not matter exactly who it is, because the focus needs to be on stopping the violence,” she said. “The focus needs to be on reaching out within the community to make sure that people that are committing these acts are not being harbored.”
Wallace “Gator” Bradley, an ex-gang member himself, stood with Cochran and a handful of other aldermen on Tuesday to say everyone in the community should declare enough is enough.
McCarthy said investigators have not been able to get any cooperating witnesses, and are hoping to get answers from Watkins once he’s able to speak to them.
A total of $11,000 in reward money was being offered for information leading to an arrest in the case.