MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Police are investigating the killing of an 11-year-old girl on Saturday night.
Ta'Niyla Parker, 11, and 5-year-old Bra'Niyla Taylor, who survived, were shot while inside a car with family.
MPD says the incident happened on the 3100 block of North Sherman just before 9 p.m. According to police, someone in another car opened fire on the car with the children inside, striking them both.
The family drove directly to District 7 where officers provided first aid until the Milwaukee Fire Department arrived. Both girls were taken to the hospital.
According to police, Ta'Niyla died on Sunday from her injuries and Bra'Niyla is in stable condition.
The girls' grandmother, Janice Little, told TMJ4 News that her daughter, Talea Hairston, and a friend were driving home with her grand kids after a visit to Chuck E. Cheese.
Little said the shooting happened suddenly, and unexpectedly, and her whole family is asking "why."
Little said 11-year-old Ta'Niyla loved anime and K-pop and liked dressing up as different characters. Little said 5-year-old Bra'Niyla is strong, and doing well. But she's been through a lot, said Tayor, even before the murder of her sister.
According to Little, Bra'Niyla's father was Bruxton Taylor. Taylor was found shot to death last year. Seven people were injured at his funeral when a car pulled up outside and someone fired a gun into the crowd of mourners.
Little said Bra'Niyla may come home from the hospital on Monday.
'We're just trying to look out for each other'
Milwaukee Police Acting Chief Jeffrey Norman issued a statement Monday afternoon, writing “Our hearts go out to everyone that was impacted by the homicide of 11-year-old Taniyla R. Parker. This tragedy is horrendous and our investigators are working diligently to bring those responsible to justice. I am asking for assistance from our community to come forward with any information to help us identify and locate the individual responsible for Taniyla’s death. I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to Taniyla’s family and friends."
Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell R. Lucas also released a statement: "Ta’Niyla’s journey on this Earth may have been brief, but her star shines bright as she takes her flight across the sky towards home. Perhaps this horrible incident can touch us in new ways because in many respects we all are victims and survivors of this senseless tragedy. Maybe it can be a wake-up call to everyone that it truly does “Take a Village to Raise a Child.” Maybe it can inspire every parent or guardian to hold their children close each day and tell them they are loved. Maybe it can invoke a spirit in our religious leaders to move beyond the four walls of churches, temples, and mosques, to help save our community. Maybe it can finally convince us all that it is time to end the cycle of violence and systems of injustice that plague our everyday life."
Residents who live near the scene of the attack against the girls said they're afraid to let their children outdoors.
One man said he's watched the Sherman Park neighborhood become more violent and unsafe over the six years he's lived there.
"I've seen more killing, more shooting, robberies and things around. I'm actually looking for another place to stay as we speak," said the man, who asked that his name not be used out of consideration for his family's safety.
"I feel sad. I fear for the safety of my kids around here. I don't understand how people would shoot with a five-year-old in the car."
The shooting happened near the same intersection -- Sherman Boulevard and Burleigh Street -- where five people were shot during a vigil several weeks ago for a 16-year-old who was murdered.
"When I learned what the intersection was, it was almost one of, you know, you almost expect it now, as horrible as it is," said Jordan Morales, a member of the Sherman Park Community Association. "We're just trying to look out for each other. There is almost a cloud of hopelessness over the city, over this neighborhood, too."
According to the Milwaukee Homicide Review commission, 98 people under the age of 18 have been shot in Milwaukee this year. 16 have died.
The commission says nearly 13 percent of shooting victims in the city are children.
"We're advocating for more investment here, more attention to be paid here in the Sherman Park Neighborhood. It's hard to say. I don't have answers for how to stop these killings of children in the neighborhood," said Morales.
Standing at the intersection of Sherman and Burleigh, 15th District Alderman Russell Stamper II, who grew up nearby, said Sherman Park, like many neighborhoods, doesn't get enough attention from the city.
"There should be a camera out here," he said. "And there should be focus on this area just like they focus on areas downtown."
On Monday, Mayor Tom Barrett addressed the shooting and the violence in the city.
"I cannot for the life of me think of a reason why an individual would take those actions," said Barrett. "Who are we as community when an individual decides that they're just going to fire a gun into a vehicle next to them. Who are we? What made this happen."
Barrett said, right now, he doesn't have an answer to the violence. He added he'd like to put more money into the police department, but Wisconsin has a "state legislature filled with people who say they're against crime but don't want to let the largest city in the state pay the bills for the police department."
Still, Barrett said, it's unlikely even more money to police and more cars on corners are going to solve the problem.
"This is very much a personal issue," said Barrett. "It's who is the person who made the decision to fire that gun. Who's the person who gave that individual that gun."
Barrett said he's been speaking with police about the attack on the girls and that police feel like have "solid information" regarding the case.
Milwaukee Police continue to seek unknown suspects. Anyone with any information is asked to contact Milwaukee Police at (414) 935-7360 or Crime Stopper at (414) 224-TIPS or P3 Tips App to remain anonymous.