Community reacts to shooting death of seven-year-old

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Police were called to the 800 block of East Donald Street in South Bend Saturday night for shots fired in the neighborhood, which has left 7-year old Chrisyah Stephens dead.

The tragedy left community members outraged.

“I’m angry. We are always in this community we’re always walking around these streets, picking kids up, taking them out of town, taking them out of the area,” Chief Ambassador for Bullets for Life Indiana Takisha Jacobs said.

Stephens was attending another child’s birthday party when she was shot in what appeared to be a drive-by shooting.

Police said that multiple shots were fired from the vehicle, but that she was the only one hit by gunfire.

She was transported to the hospital in serious condition where she was later pronounced dead.

“These people just lost their baby girl. Do you know how angry they’re going to be? Do you how now they’re going to have to play offense? Do you know now how afraid they’re going to be when a car turns their corner,” Jacobs said.

Along with the shooting on Donald Street, police responded to three other shootings in South Bend between Saturday and Sunday, and multiple calls for shots fired.

“I have our officers and dozens of community leaders especially save, reaching out and pleading for this to stop,” South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski said in a statement released Sunday evening.

Community members seconding that statement, who said that the violence must come to an end.

“This is a community problem, this is not a black lives matter problem, this is the organizations that are fighting against violence, gun violence, and this is our problem. This is our community’s problem,” Jacobs said.

In order to help stop the ongoing violence, people said that city leaders need to help find solutions.

“We need brighter lights on these streets, we need cameras on these streets,” Jacobs said. “This Sharon McBride’s district right? Don’t they need to be out here doing something about this?”

They said that it’s not just the cities involvement that will make a difference, but that everyone needs to come together towards change.

“Blood sheds in the streets of south bend every day, we are losing all ages just two years ago the age range was 17, okay so what now were going to make this now the one single digits? C’mon now we got to do better for our community,” Director of Bullets for Life Indiana Loria Perez said.

“We need more community policing, we need more of the community members out in the community walking the communities, policing the communities,” Jacobs said.

The South Bend Metro Homicide Unit has taken over this investigation, and anybody with any additional information is asked to call the metro unit or Michiana Crime Stoppers.

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