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Neighbors, local officials respond to death of two-year-old

Posted at 6:13 PM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 23:12:33-04

MILWAUKEE — Police say a 24-year-old Milwaukee woman has been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a toddler Tuesday night on the city’s northwest side.

The two-year-old victim was identified by Milwaukee police on Wednesday as Zymeiia Stevens. Neighbors said she was shot inside a duplex where she lived with her family.

Jaylee Vernado said he came outside his house near 105th and Mill Road shortly before 7:30 p.m. after hearing one gunshot. He soon learned a house party came to a devastating end.

“They was having a nice gathering as friends and family do and that terrible, horrible incident happened,” Vernado said.

Other neighbors said they saw Zymeiia’s mother run out of the home with her daughter in her arms screaming for help. Police said the toddler died on the way to the hospital. The circumstances of what led up to the shooting are still under investigation.

“It’s the saddest thing in the world to even hear about, especially with all this COVID going on,” Vernado said.

Common Council President Cavalier Johnson said he’s crushed by learning of this tragedy that happened in his own district.

“We have had too many kids in Milwaukee who have died at the hand of a gun over the course of the last several years and it’s just unacceptable,” Johnson said.

Milwaukee police said this is the sixth child under the age of 10 who has died from violence this year. In the first 7 months of 2020, there have been 93 homicides in Milwaukee. There was a total of 99 homicides in 2019.

“I’m grateful the Milwaukee Police Department did respond to this and does respond to these routinely, but the question needs to be asked, what are we going to do at a state level in order to stop people who should not have access to firearms in the first place from getting access to guns?” questioned Johnson.

Milwaukee police said Wednesday they are looking for other persons of interest.

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