The 13-year-old girl who was shot to death in her own home had previously written about how “little children are victims of senseless gun violence,” according to the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association.
Sandra Parks wrote that sentence in an essay she entered into the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. writing contest in 2016, the association posted to Facebook. Her essay, titled “Our Truth,” earned third place.
“Sometimes, I sit back and I have to escape from what I see and hear every day,” Parks wrote. “... In the city in which I live, I hear and see examples of chaos almost everyday. Little children are victims of senseless gun violence. There is too much black on black crime. As an African-American, that makes me feel depressed.”
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About two years later, Parks has become another victim of gun violence. She’s one of at least four Milwaukee children who have been “fatally shot inside a home in the last four years by gunfire that erupted outside,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Parks was watching TV in her bedroom on Monday when “several” bullets came flying toward her family’s home, sister Tatiana Ingram said, according to WISN. One of those bullets struck Parks.
“She took it like a soldier,” Ingram said, according to the station. “She just walked in the room and said, ‘Mama, I’m shot.’”
Parks was in the eight grade when she was killed, her mom, Bernice Parks, wrote on a GoFundMe page. She wanted to go to college and start a career as a writer.
“She was just a innocent child,” Bernice Parks wrote.
In 2017, following her award-winning essay, Parks did an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio, WTMJ reported. In the interview, she explained the world as she saw it.
“ ... the world that we have become now is like is all you hear about is somebody dying. Somebody getting shot,” she said, according to WTMG. “And people do not think about (whose) father or son or granddaughter or grandson that was that you just killed.”
The host then asked her if she looked forward to doing something big with her life, the station reported.
“When I like take over I would like to like stop all the violence and negative, negativity that is going on,” she replied, according to WTMJ.
The shooting was reported at about 8 p.m. Monday, WISN reported, and Parks was pronounced dead “moments later.”
Two bullet holes can be seen inside a front window of the home, the Journal Sentinel reported, and police tape hangs from a “chain-link fence surrounding the yard.”
“My baby was not violent. My baby did not like violence,” Bernice Parks said, according to the newspaper.
Tuesday morning, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett expressed “outrage” over the deadly shooting that left a teen dead, FOX6 reported.
“Sandra Parks, a 13-year-old, went into her bedroom,” he said, according to the station. “She never came out alive. Tragically, her death was caused by someone who just decided to they were going to shoot bullets into her house — and she’s dead.
“ ... I don’t know what they were doing,” the mayor continued, FOX6 reported. “I don’t know that the police know what they were doing. All we know is that a 13-year-old died last night in her bedroom.”
Milwaukee Public Schools said Parks is the seventh child who was enrolled in a district school to have been killed in a homicide this year, according to a statement obtained by the Journal Sentinel.
“As a community, we must commit ourselves to taking whatever action is necessary to keep our children safe,” the statement said.
Police are still investigating whether it was a random or targeted shooting, WPR reported. One man is in custody as a “person of interest,” and another man was brought in for questioning.
At a vigil for Parks, her mom said she wants to get her poems published, CBS58 reported.
“ ... that’s what she wanted and I want to go ahead and do that for her,” she said, according to the station. “I’m going to miss my baby. She was a star... Just don’t forget her please.”