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Little girl who wrote award-winning essay on gun violence is shot dead in bedroom while watching TV

A Wisconsin girl who won an award for an essay dealing with ongoing violence was shot and killed in her home on Monday, according to Milwaukee authorities.

CNN reports that Sandra Parks was just 11 when she wrote an essay about gun violence in Milwaukee as part of project to commemorate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. at Keefe Avenue School. The topic she wrote so passionately about is what ultimately ended her life, although the essay likely had nothing to do with the stray bullets that smashed through her bedroom window.  The incident occurred a little before 8 p.m. close to North 13th and West Hadley in Milwaukee.

“Little children are victims of senseless gun violence … I sit back and I have to escape from what I see and hear every day. When I do; I come to the same conclusion … we are in a state of chaos.” – Sandra Parks

According to authorities, Sandra was home watching television in her bedroom when bullets smashed through a window and hit her in the chest. The little girl managed to tell her mother she had been shot before losing consciousness. Authorities arrived shortly after and pronounced her dead.

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“It doesn’t get any worse than a child so young to be the victim of gunfire, and to be sitting inside the residence with family members when this happens, it’s one of the worst things that could happen,” Inspector Timothy Heier said.

The victim’s mother, Bernice Parks, said her daughter was against violence and constantly spoke out about it.

“My baby was not violent. My baby did not like violence.”

Sandra’s sister, Tatiana Ingram, said she took the bullet “like a soldier,” even though the bullet was reportedly meant for someone else, according to ABC12.

“She took it like a soldier,” Ingram said. “She just walked in the room and said, ‘Mama, I’m shot’ … The bullet wasn’t even for her.”

On Wednesday, authorities arrested and charged two suspects, Isaac Barnes and Untrell Oden, in connection with the shooting. According to the police report, Barnes began “shooting at an unknown target” as he walked from a store with Oden.

Barnes’ girlfriend told police she was parked in a vehicle near the crime scene when the incident happened. She said Barnes approached and while wearing a mask and carrying a gun, threatened to shoot her.

“You lucky the kids are in the car. I was going to fan you down,” Barnes allegedly said, according to his girlfriend.

Police found Barnes and Oden in a home off of West Locust Street. Barnes was reportedly hiding inside a closet when authorities arrived. Investigators stated ballistics testing showed the casings found outside of Sandra’s home matched a gun found inside the home where police located the suspects.

Barnes was arrested and charged with first-degree reckless homicide, while Oden was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. The motive in the shooting remains unknown.

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[Feature Photo: Sandra Parks/Handout]