'Hole in Her Head': Baby Shot in Face in California - NBC New York
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'Hole in Her Head': Baby Shot in Face in California

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Community Outraged After Baby Shot, Killed in Compton

    City leaders were offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of two men responsible for the shooting death of a baby. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016. (Published Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016)

    A $25,000 reward was offered Wednesday for information leading to the arrest of the two men responsible for the shooting death of a baby girl Tuesday night in her family's Compton home.

    "I stand here before you, deeply saddened. Last night in our community, an unspeakable tragedy occurred that no parent of any family should ever have to endure," Mayor Aja Brown said at a news conference Wednesday. "My heart goes out to the family of 1-year-old Autumn Johnson." 

    The search for the attackers was still ongoing.

    "Please have compassion for Autumn Johnson's family and help us bring the suspect to justice," Brown said.

    Officials urged residents to come forward if they knew the shooter, not only for justice for Autumn and her family, but for their "own personal safety."

    Amid building outrage in the community, Brown was joined by council members, deputies and faith leaders who pledged to work tirelessly until the man who fired the gun and man behind the wheel of the getaway car were found.

    Sheriff's officials said the intended target in the shooting was likely Autumn's father. 

    The baby's mother said she was making a bottle for the girl, who was in her bed, when she heard gunfire coming from outside the home in 200 block of Holly Avenue. The family was in a garage that had been converted to a living space, authorities said.

    "There were just gunshots, and I saw my baby lying there," said Blanche Wandick.   

    Witnesses said one attacker drove the getaway car while a passenger opened fire. One woman said she saw the baby's father running while holding the baby, who wasn't moving.

    "When I grabbed the baby, the baby was slumped over, and she had a hole in her head," said uncle Cornell Patton.

    The baby died later at the hospital, according to the LASD. She was six days past her first birthday, family members said.

    Many neighbors told NBC4 they were heartbroken.

    "I heard the shots, maybe 10-12 shots," said Rev. Maurice Johnson of Kingdom Life Christian Fellowship Church. "I assumed it was firecrackers. On this side of Compton, we don't hear gunshots very often."

    The father told NBC4 he was not home at the time of the shooting, which investigators said they suspect was a gang-related attack.

    During the initial call, deputies responded to a report of gunfire at 7 p.m. When they arrived, they found the child with a gunshot wound to her face.

    Deputies rushed the baby to the hospital in their patrol car.

    "The person who did this, honestly, all I can do is pray for them," said aunt Kenyia Hicks.

    Activists said after the horrific shooting, they were going to keep close watch, in case gangs are to blame. 

    "We're just going to make sure there's no retaliation, and more innocent people getting harmed as a result," Ben Owens of Southern California CeaseFire said.

    Deputies said they were searching for a newer blue Chevy Impala that was seen fleeing from the home after the shooting.

    Anyone with information on the crime was encouraged to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

    Officials also said anyone could provide information anonymously by calling (800) 222-TIPS.

    Patrick Healy contributed to this article.