Autumn Johnson, a 1-year-old toddler who celebrated her first birthday just a week ago, was killed after she was hit by a bullet in the head. The shot was fired by an unidentified gunman who opened fire outside Autumn’s family home located in Compton, Los Angeles.
According to an initial report by the Los Angeles Times, the gunman allegedly arrived near the toddler’s resident by car, walked up to the home, and aimed his gun at a converted garage and fired a few shots. One of the bullets hit little Autumn, injuring her fatally. The gunman remains unidentified, and authorities are investigating if the shooting was the result of a gang dispute. They are also investigating whether Autumn was deliberately targeted or if it was a stray bullet that hit her and caused her death.
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) February 10, 2016
According to the Washington Post, Autumn Johnson was lying in her crib when the fatal bullet hit her in the head. The newspaper cites an unnamed witness who said she heard several gunshots from the residence followed by the screams of a woman who cried, “They shot my baby. They shot my baby.” Sensing trouble, she immediately dialed 911 and then rushed out to check what had happened.
Once she was outside, she recalls seeing the father of the baby emerge outside with the limp body of Autumn Johnson in his hands.
“Someone take my baby to the hospital,” the man cried.
Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office reached the location of the incident a few minutes later. Autumn was soon rushed to the St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood in a patrol car. However, by the time they reached the hospital, it was too late. Autumn Johnson was declared dead at the hospital.
Initially, Autumn Johnson was reported to be just 3-months-old. Later, however, her family members confirmed that the little toddler had just celebrated her first birthday a week ago.
According to Cmdr. Rod Kusch from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau, authorities have started investigating the case and are trying to trace the gunman. Another officer from the sheriff department’s homicide department, Captain Steve Katz, said that the family of the girl was “very distraught” and that “emotions are very high.”
Meanwhile, nearby residents are shocked at the death of the little girl. News of the shooting quickly spread through social media and those who knew the family rushed to their home praying what they heard was just a rumor. One such individual was Long Beach resident Rena Burleson, who used to watch Autumn Johnson. She rushed to the hospital where Autumn was taken to only to find that the family had left from there. She then reached the family home where the shooting took place.
“It just hurts and bleeds,” she said when asked about baby Autumn.
According to Audric Crenshaw, who lives in the neighborhood, he was at a church two blocks away from the place where the shooting took place when the incident happened. He says he did not hear the gunfire but came to know later that Autumn Johnson had died.
“It’s not surprising because it’s the city of Compton, for its name. But it’s surprising to me because it’s a baby.”
According to several reports, the area where the Tuesday shooting happened was located just a block away from Roosevelt Elementary School. According to data compiled by the Los Angeles Times, this area happens to be among the most violent neighborhoods in L.A. County. In the last six months, there have been 475 violent crimes reported from this area alone. These included eight homicide cases as well. Meanwhile, primary reports suggest that the gunman involved in the killing of Autumn Johnson escaped in a dark-colored sedan and drove towards the south.