Kanari Gentry-Bowers became the third child victim to die from injuries suffered in a Chicago shooting over the past two days. Kanari died Wednesday afternoon, just a day after 11-year-old Takiya Holmes, another victim of a weekend shooting in Chicago, died.
Kanari was shot in the back while playing basketball with friends at Henderson Elementary School over the weekend. According to the Chicago Tribune, the bullet hit her uppermost vertebrae, near the base of her head, causing brain damage.
“Her brain function was gone. There was nothing else they could do for her, nothing at all,” Dawn Valenti, a family friend and crisis counselor, told the Tribune. “It was out of their hands. She was gone.”
As the Tribune reports, no one is currently in custody for Kanari’s shooting, but authorities did announce Wednesday that they had detained a suspect, 19-year-old Antwan Jones, in Takiya’s shooting.
A judge ordered Jones held without bond.
On Tuesday, 2-year-old Lavontay White Jr. also lost his life when the car he was in was attacked in what police are describing as a gang-related attack.
“My nephew was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Sheneka Hill, Lavontay’s aunt, told the Tribune.
As Chicago grapples with an uptick in violence, having suffered its deadliest year in 2016, the city is now left reeling with the loss of three young children to gun violence. At a Wednesday-morning news conference, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson spoke out against the shootings, touting tougher gun laws in order to keep repeat offenders off the street.
“While no arrest or jail sentence will ever bring back the lives or the sounds of laughter of these children, we owe it to them to help save the lives of others and pass this legislation,” he said. “How many children do we need to lose before the promises made by certain legislators are kept? How many?”
Late Wednesday, Kanari’s family released a short statement, thanking supporters for their thoughts and prayers and urging others to keep their children safe.
“Please keep your children close and do whatever it takes to protect them from the senseless gun violence in our city,” the family said.
Read more at the Chicago Tribune.