CHICAGO (CBS) — Natalia Wallace, 7, was shot and killed in Chicago’s South Austin neighborhood as she visited her grandmother for a July 4th party.
Family describes Natalia as “sweet, shy, loving, and good at math.”
Meanwhile late Sunday, police said a person of interest was being questioned in her death.
CBS 2’s Marissa Parra spoke with Natalia’s family, who were with her in her final moments. Natalia, known to her family as Natalie, had just finished the first grade at Crown Community Academy of Fine Arts Center and she also loved to draw and loved being outside, just like a 7-year-old would.
“Kids outside playing, they shouldn’t have to worry about guns and people shooting,” said Natalia’s father, Nathan Wallace.
But indeed it was while Natalia was playing outside on the evening of the 4th of July that she was fatally shot.
Natalia was shot in the forehead as she and other children played in the yard. She was taken to Stroger Hospital of Cook County where she later died, police said. The shooting happened in the 100 block of North Latrobe Avenue.
This is 7-year-old Natalia Wallace
Sweet, shy, loving, good at math, family tells me
— Marissa Parra (@MarParNews) July 5, 2020
Police said at 7:02 p.m., Natalia was on the sidewalk when a light-colored vehicle pulled up and an unknown number of people exited. Those people then took out guns and fired shots her direction, police said.
Shelley Fulton, who is Natalia’s great-great aunt and was like a third parent to her, rubbed her back in her final moments.
“She said, ‘Your baby’s shot!’ and I jumped the flight of stairs to come downstairs, and I found my baby laying here, and I’ll never be the same,” Fulton said. “It’s got to stop, this killing. These are innocent kids. She was only 7 years old.”
“She’d smile and always tell me, ‘I love you,’” Fulton said.
“Rest easy baby girl”
“We will meet again”
— Marissa Parra (@MarParNews) July 5, 2020
Linda Rogers Fulton, Natalia’s grandmother, was likewise distraught.
“She left out the house, two minutes. I came out here and my grandbaby was laying down the ground down there,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do. It hurt me. I couldn’t do nothing. My baby was laying on the ground! Jesus! Help us Father!”
Shootings coincided with 4th of July fireworks across the city this weekend.
Overnight, there were two mass shootings – one in North Lawndale, the other in Englewood.
In North Lawndale as fireworks went off, six people were shot, including teenage boys, and one 20-year-old woman died of her wounds. In Englewood, eight people were shot at a gathering and four were killed, including a 14-year-old boy. An 11-year-old boy was also wounded.
“Put the guns down! Put the guns down! We talk about Black Lives Matter, but at the end of the day, we’re killing each other off, we’re killing our babies,” said Natalia’s aunt, Natalie Wallace.
It’s a tired headline in Chicago. Two weeks ago, 3-year-old Mekhi James was shot and killed while riding in a car in South Austin. Last weekend, 1-year-old Sincere Gaston was shot and killed while riding in a car in Englewood, and 10-year-old Lena Nunez was shot and killed when a stray bullet entered her grandmother’s home in Logan Square.
Natalia’s parents saw those faces and never imagined that their own 7-year-old daughter would become one of them.
“I mean, who wants to bury their child?” Nathan Wallace said. “It should be the other way around.”
Nathan Wallace said he does not want to see police scaled back. He said he wants more police in city neighborhoods, but he wants officers to do their jobs.
He also said he wants to see more justice, and he wants to see the people behind the shootings caught and held accountable.
“They’re getting a slap on the wrist,” he said. “There’s too many people doing this.”
Natalia will never make it to second grade at Crown Academy, but her family said the least we can do is keep her name and spirit alive.
“We can’t bring her back, but we want justice. We definitely want justice. Justice for Natalie. Justice for Natalie,” Natalia’s aunt Natalie Wallace said.
A 32-year-old man was also wounded in the shooting, police said. He transported himself to Mount Sinai Hospital in fair condition with a gunshot wound to the ankle and a graze wound to the leg.
Police are looking into whether that man was the target.
As of just after 10 p.m. Sunday, 77 people had been shot through the holiday weekend beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, and 14 had been killed.
Meanwhile, at least 10 children age 10 or under have bene shot in Chicago since mid-June.
Police said just after 9 p.m. that a person of interest was being questioned in Natalia’s death. No one had been charged.