Police and prosecutors in Chicago say that Antwan C. Jones was walking down the street Saturday evening when he saw three rival gang members selling weed in his gang’s territory. Jones reportedly shot at them from across the street, but instead of hitting his targets, he hit 11-year-old Takiya Holmes in the right temple as she sat in a van with her brother, mother and aunt.
Police Cmdr. Brendan Deenihan told the Chicago Tribune, “Across the street he saw three individuals who he felt did not belong in the area, and he chose to get a handgun. Obviously we know now that he didn’t hit any of them.
“And this poor young girl, this 11-year-old, Takiya, she pulls up in a van. The van couldn’t have been there more than a minute, and this stray bullet strikes her, causing her death,” Deenihan added.
Takiya Holmes died Tuesday morning, and according to a cousin who posted the information on Facebook, she passed away in her mother’s arms.
Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil ordered that Jones, 19, be held without bond on a first-degree murder charge at his Wednesday-afternoon bond hearing.
Police charged Jones early Wednesday morning after reviewing video that showed several people near the shooting. Deenihan said that gang investigators helped detectives identify witnesses who cooperated with authorities and identified Jones as the gunman. Deenihan told the Tribune that he believed the witnesses cooperated because an innocent had been killed.
Jones surrendered to police but did not make a statement. Instead he requested an attorney. Authorities said Jones has a “lengthy” juvenile record, but did not go into detail.
Jones has three arrests as an adult. Last November he was charged with two counts of domestic battery and one count of criminal damage to property; an order of protection was issued in that case. Last September he was charged with aggravated assault of a teacher, and in 2015 he was charged with reckless conduct.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that the shooting underscores once again the need for action in Springfield, Illinois’ capital, on legislation that will toughen penalties for gun offenders.
“I raised three kids in this city,” Johnson said at a news conference at police headquarters. “And for any leader in this city to watch young kids have to suffer because we don’t hold people accountable is ridiculous.
“How many children do we have to lose before the promises that were made by certain legislators are kept?” Johnson asked. “How many?”
Just 30 minutes before Takiya was shot, 12-year-old Kanari Gentry Bowers was hit with a stray bullet about 4 miles away while playing near her elementary school.
Kanari remains in critical condition and on life support, police said.
Read more at the Chicago Tribune.