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Girl who wrote essay on gun violence killed by stray bullet in Milwaukee home: ‘Mama, I’m shot’

ABOVE: Milwaukee police have a person of interest in custody in connection to the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old girl Monday night.

A 13-year-old girl from Milwaukee, who previously wrote an award-winning essay about gun violence in her city, was shot to death while watching television in her own home Monday.

Two years ago Sandra Parks wrote about the constant shootings in Milwaukee, calling it a “state of chaos.”

READ MORE: Chilling video explains how 8 U.S. children are shot daily in ‘family fire’

“Little children are victims of senseless gun violence,” she wrote in the essay, which commemorated the life of Martin Luther King Jr. “I sit back and I have to escape from what I see and hear every day.”

On Monday evening, Sandra was watching television in her home when gunfire erupted, the window shattered and she was struck in the chest by a stray bullet, WISN News reported.

Family and friends described Sandra as “a good student”  who loved to write, particularly poetry.
Family and friends described Sandra as “a good student”  who loved to write, particularly poetry. GoFundMe

Sandra’s mother, who was in bed at the time, said she woke up to the sound of gunfire.

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“The next thing she heard was (Sandra) yelling “I’m shot! I’m shot!” prosecutors told the Associated Press.

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

Sandra died in front of her mother, WISN News reported.

WATCH: The state of gun violence in America

The state of gun violence in America
The state of gun violence in America

26-year-old man charged

On Wednesday, state prosecutors charged a 26-year-old man with firing into the Milwaukee home and killing Sandra. Prosecutors said he may have been planning to shoot his ex-girlfriend.

Isaac Barnes’ ex-girlfriend said Barnes approached her wearing a black mask and “holding a large AK-47 style firearm.” He told her, “I was going to fan you down,” but didn’t because she had her kids in her parked car, prosecutors said.

READ MORE: Twice as many Americans have died in school shootings than at war in 2018, data shows

She was visiting her sister at a home Monday night near where Sandra Parks lived. It wasn’t clear from the criminal complaint whether Parks had already been shot by then.

Barnes faces charges of first-degree reckless homicide, discharging a gun into a building and possession of a firearm by a felon. The reckless homicide charge is punishable by up to 60 years in prison.

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Tatiana Ingram, left, cries as others speak about her sister Sandra Parks, a 13-year-old girl who was killed in her bedroom when shots were fired the night before into her home in Milwaukee.
Tatiana Ingram, left, cries as others speak about her sister Sandra Parks, a 13-year-old girl who was killed in her bedroom when shots were fired the night before into her home in Milwaukee. Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP

Prosecutors also charged an acquaintance of Barnes with two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, alleging that he had safeguarded two guns belonging to Barnes. However, the acquaintance, 27-year-old Untrell Oden, is not accused of participating in the shooting.

Police found Barnes hiding a closet in a home where they also located Oden. In that home, police recovered one firearm in the garbage can of the living room and another gun in a bedroom, according to prosecutors. They say Oden told detectives he saw Barnes “shooting at an unknown target as they walked from the store.”

Sandra’s essay on gun violence

Family and friends described Sandra as “a good student,” who loved to write, particularly poetry, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Sandra’s mother, Bernice Parks, called her child “everything this world was not.”

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READ MORE: Powerful images capture U.S. students’ mass walkout to protest gun violence

“My baby was not violent. My baby did not like violence,” Parks told the Milwaukee Journal. “Everybody she knew, everybody that came past, she made them happy. She was my angel from the time she was in my womb.”

Sandra talked to Wisconsin Public Radio last year about her essay, telling the station she picked the topic of violence because of the constant news on shootings.

“All you hear about is somebody dying or somebody getting shot and people do not just think about whose father or son or granddaughter or grandson who it was that was just killed,” she said.

Parks wrote on a GoFundMe page that Sandra wanted to go to college and start a career as a writer.

“She was just an innocent child,” Parks wrote.

— With files from the Associated Press