Two years ago Sandra Parks wrote about the constant shootings in Milwaukee, calling it a “state of chaos.”
“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.
Sandra’s mother, who was in bed at the time, said she woke up to the sound of gunfire.
“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
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.
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.
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.”
“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