A 7-year-old girl was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting at a birthday party in South Bend, Indiana on Saturday.
Chrisyah Stephens had just finished singing “Happy Birthday” along with several others, finished breaking a piñata and was about to enjoy cake and ice cream when the shots rang out from a passing car.
“We were standing right here,” SlyLavecchio Hines said as she points to an area around the front stoop of the house, “I would say about 20 seconds after we came outside, we hear gunshots, ‘Pow, pow, pow.’”
Hines’ niece was celebrating her birthday Saturday evening, with about 70 people attending.
He rushed over to Chrisyah when he heard gunshots to protect her from the bullets.
“I ran and I was trying to grab her, to block her from the bullets,” he said, “But it was too late. As soon as I grabbed her, her body got heavy. I laid her down, I called her name, and then I seen the blood.”
She was seriously injured when she was rushed to the hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.
Chrisyah’s death has left her family “hurt and heartbroken.”
Hines said he is certain that the shots were fired from the passenger-side window of a white car, possibly a Chevy Malibu.
“I think they was [sic] targeting us,” he said, but does not have any idea why he would be targeted.
St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit will take over the investigation, and autopsy will be done on August 31.
This unfortunate incident is one of the four shootings that occurred over the weekend.
“Just this weekend, we’ve already had four people shot. One being an innocent 7-year-old girl playing at a birthday party,” said Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski in a statement.
“Life doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be like this, but in order for it to stop, our community has to say and do something.”