Charges have been filed in the shooting death of 11-year-old Takiya Holmes, police said.
Antwan C. Jones, 19, was charged with first-degree murder after turning himself in late Tuesday evening, according to police. He was ordered held without bond Wednesday afternoon.
Takiya was sitting in the backseat of her family’s minivan Saturday around 7:40 p.m. on the city’s South Side when she was shot in the head by a stray bullet, police said.
According authorities, Jones lived in an apartment complex in the neighborhood and saw three people he thought “didn’t belong in the area.” He went outside with a handgun and opened fire but missed. One of those bullets pierced the van Takiya was riding in and struck her in the head, police said.
The 11-year-old was with her mother, aunt and 3-year-old brother when the shooting occurred. They were parked outside her mother’s work, waiting for a co-worker, when they suddenly heard gunfire.
“Shots rang out, she told everybody to get down, and once they stopped, she asked was everybody ok and Takiya did not respond,” her grandmother Patsy Holmes said.
The van had only been in the area for less than one minute, authorities said.
“I don’t know if people think this is TV where you can shoot someone in the leg or shoot a handgun out of somebody’s hand,” said Area Central Commander Brendan Deenihan. “These are handguns. When the bullets start flying they go everywhere.”
Takiya was transported to Comer Children’s Hospital, where she remained on life support until passing away Tuesday morning.
“Gang violence in Chicago, while senselessly tragic is something every police officer has faced at one time or another,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said. “For the most part you learn how to process it so you can focus on the task at hand, but when this violence touches the innocent or the young, that’s when it’s no longer part of your job — it becomes a person. Beyond just shaking their heads at the tragic loss of life, officers begin asking themselves, ‘What if that were my child? What would I do?'”
The teen charged had “a lengthy juvenile history,” police said at a press conference Wednesday. According to Johnson, Jones had been identified by the department previously for being at risk of becoming a victim or an offender of gun violence.
Johnson continued his plea for stricter gun penalties, saying, “There’s no deterring to taking a life when you know you’ll likely be out of jail in a matter of months.”
“How many children do we need to lose before the promises that were made by certain legislators are kept?” Johnson said. “How many?”
Police thanked community members and activist Andrew Holmes for helping in their investigation. They noted that several people in the community helped identify the shooter before he turned himself in.
“In this case we were fortunate to bring this to a conclusion in a very timely manner,” Deenihan said.
Holmes, Takiya’s cousin, said that while a reward was being offered for information leading to an arrest, those that came forward said it “wasn’t about the money.”
“It was just about bringing a person to justice,” he said.
Holmes said that he intends to continue to encourage communities to come forward in shootings across the city, particularly those involving children.
Takiya was one of three children shot since Saturday. A 12-year-old girl was also critically wounded in a shooting just minutes after Takiya was shot. On Tuesday, a 2-year-old boy was killed in a shooting on the city’s West Side.
For now, Holmes said he had just one message for the man charged in his cousin’s shooting death.
“For him now, my message is to help those that are behind him that are doing the same thing to not do it,” he said.