Ask Eyewitnesses to Come Forward in Shooting Death of Baby

Target: The Chicago Public

Goal: Encourage witnesses of gun violence to cooperate with police and ensure justice for victims.

A six-month-old baby was recently shot and killed during broad daylight while her father was changing her diaper. Police speculate that the father was being targeted and the baby girl was merely caught in the crossfire. This tragedy is unfortunately one of many in the last few months. Not long ago, 15 year-old Hadiya Pentleton, who sang at President Obama’s inauguration, was shot and killed. Gun violence in Chicago has been rampant in recent years and shooting fatalities have increased since 2011. In 2012, more than 500 people were killed from gunfire in Chicago, many of whom were children.

The Chicago Police Department has reported that no witnesses have come forward in the case of the father and daughter, who suffered from gunshot wounds on a busy street in broad daylight. Many Chicagoans who may have witnessed the crime are too afraid to speak up. However, without witness testimony, police fear that the murderers may go free. In this time of crisis for Chicago, it is necessary for the citizens to realize that the only way to ensure justice for victims and prevent future tragedy is to cooperate with police. Without witnesses, many crimes go unsolved, which only exacerbates the danger of living in the city.

In large cities such as Chicago, many witnesses of crimes fall prey to the ‘bystander effect,’ which is the belief that because so many people were present during a crime, it is unnecessary to take action because someone else will. In reality, when a crime occurs in a highly populated area, it is less likely for crimes to be reported or witnesses to come forward because so everyone tends to assume someone else will come forward and nobody does. This tendency complicates investigations for police, making it more likely that murderers will go free. Please ask residents of Chicago to come forward when they witness violence to help ensure justice for victims and to reduce crime in their city.


Dear residents of Chicago,

The recent death of six-month-old Jonylah Watkins has shocked the nation and reemphasized the rampant gun violence in Chicago. This tragedy happened in the wake of 15 year-old Hadiya Pentleton’s shocking death. Legislators, enforcement agencies, and non-profit organizations are all scrambling to create and implement solutions to help curb the rising crime rates. Unfortunately, one of the difficulties of reducing crime in the city is that many witnesses refuse to cooperate with police. The Chicago Police Department has reported that not even a single witness has come forward in the Watkins case, though the shooting occurred in broad daylight in a populated area.

Many times, in densely populated areas such as Chicago’s South Side where the shooting happened, people tend to assume that someone else will take responsibility for coming forward as a witness. Because of this tendency, crimes tend to be reported less frequently and it becomes more difficult for police to catch the perpetrators. In other cases, witnesses choose not to get involved in fear of risking their own lives and families. However, if police lack adequate information to make an arrest, these criminals remain on the street and a threat to the community. We must come together as a nation and ensure that murderers are not going free, particularly when so many children’s lives are at stake. Please commit to reporting violence and giving witness testimony when you are present during a crime.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: 432945997_4c65ed6080_b by Spencer Ackerman via

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