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6-year-old girl shot in head, dies in Minneapolis; 3rd child shot in the head in 3 weeks

Police lights (Dreamstime/TNS)
May 19, 2021

A six-year-old girl who was shot in the head on Monday while she was riding in a car in Minneapolis has died from her injuries on Wednesday, CBS 4 reported.

According to the Minneapolis Police Department, the shooting occurred just after 11 p.m. on the 3500 block of Penn Avenue North in the midwestern city’s Folwell neighborhood. After Aniya Allen was shot, the driver immediately rushed to Hennepin Healthcare.

KG Wilson, a local peace activist and grandfather to Aniya, said the little girl was with her mother on their way back from McDonald’s when shots rang out. One of the stray bullets struck Aniya in the head.  

The child’s mother carried her into the trauma center after the shooting, where she later was reported as having signs of brain swelling and required a ventilator to breathe.

CBS 4 reported that Aniya’s mother described her as being full of life. She also liked unicorns and loved making people smile. The young girl’s aunt set up a GoFundMe for the family.

The shooting Monday night left another adult victim injured, police said. He was reportedly in critical condition at North Memorial Health Hospital.

Aniya is one of three children to be shot in the head in Minneapolis in recent weeks. Ten-year-old Ladavionne Garrett Jr. was shot while sitting in the back seat of his family’s car on April 30 and nine-year-old Trinity Smith was jumping on a trampoline when she sustained a gunshot wound. The two children are at North Memorial.

“They were shooting through a group of five kids that was out there, and they hit my baby,” said Raishawn Smith, Trinity’s father. “I’ve been here every day. I go up periodically, I pray over her, I talk to her, bring her things, let her know that I’m there.”

Now, community activists, led by Cheryl Anderson, are working to find volunteers to watch over certain blocks for the next several weeks.

“We’re going to stand from sun up to sun down and we’re going to shut them down,” Anderson said. “We don’t want to see another baby shot, we don’t want to see anybody shot.”

Minneapolis has seen 185 people shot this year, up almost 150 percent from the same period in 2020. The number of murders has also jumped to 27, according to the MPD, which is more than double last year’s tally.

Despite the increase in shootings, arrests for violent crime are down 40 percent, a change that Minneapolis Pulice Public Information Officer John Elder said is due to staffing issues.

“We are seeing an increase in crimes, we also have a substantial reduction in staff,” Elder said. “Cases are being worked, but they’re taking longer and they have less people to do it.”