GRAND CROSSING — A week after she was killed by a bullet fired at her father, tiny Jonylah Watkins was mourned at a South Side visitation Monday night. The 6-month-old was dressed in pink in her three-foot-long, open casket.
Hundreds filed past her body, including young children.
Lizziestine Wells said her granddaughter, Gabriella Naoma Wells, 4, noticed a stuffed animal placed near Jonylah's body as they passed her.
"She was asking questions about the baby," Well said.
"She's sleeping," Wells told her granddaughter.
Jonylah was shot and killed while she was with her dad in a parked minivan in the 6500 block of South Maryland in Woodlawn on March 11. The gunman fled in broad daylight and is still at large. Jonylah's father was hit, but he survived the ambush.
On Monday night, Jonylah lay in a small, open casket at Leak and Sons Funeral Home from 6-10 p.m.
Her funeral is 10 a.m. Tuesday at New Beginnings Church, 6620 S. King Dr.
Jonylah wore pink with white and brown shoes. She was surrounded by flowers as residents came to pay their respects to members and friends of the family seated nearby.
"The violence needs to stop for all youth and nationalities," Lizziestine Wells said. "We're losing too many of our children."
One attendee, Charles Knight, said he came to support Jonylah's family, as said he has lost a child to gun violence in the past.
Knight's 8-year-old son, Charles Knight Jr., was killed on his birthday in 1989 when a stray bullet hit him in the neck.
"I can only imagine what the family is going through because I've lost a young child, too," Knight said. "To see that young girl in that casket ... she didn't have any time to enjoy her life."
Knight's son would have been 32 years old this year and the 66-year-old, who said he's since "been blessed" with four children, said he still feels that same heartache when he sees such senseless violence.
"Every time I see something like this, it tears a piece of me," he said.