Girl Who Wrote Acclaimed Essay On Gun Violence Is Killed By Stray Bullet

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Sandra Parks, 13, who wrote an award-winning essay on gun violence, was killed after someone fired into her home in Wisconsin.

The girl, who once wrote, “Little children are victims of senseless gun violence,” became a victim of gun violence on Monday night in Milwaukee while sitting in her home with family members. 

“Sandra did not deserve this,” Parks’ sister Tatiana Ingram tearfully told local ABC affiliate WISN 12. “Sandra was an amazing person. She was so bright. She was so beautiful and full of life.” 

In 2016, Parks wrote “Our Truth” for a Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest, earning third-place honors, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported

Parks, then a sixth-grader, read an excerpt of her essay on Wisconsin Public Radio in early 2017. (Read the entire essay here.) 

“We need to rewrite our story so that faith and hope for a better tomorrow, is not only within us, but we believe it and we put into actions,” she read in part on air. 

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett decried gun violence in the city and across the U.S. on Tuesday. 

“It’s just insanity,” he told reporters. “You’re never going to solve a fight with a gun. You’re never going to settle the score with a gun. But you see it over and over and over again in this country.”

The Milwaukee Police Department said in a press release on Tuesday that a 26-year-old male person of interest was taken in custody in connection with Parks’ death. 

It’s unclear whether her home was targeted, police said. Parks died at the scene. 

Milwaukee prosecutors reportedly charged two men on Wednesday in connection to the shooting.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office charged Isaac Barnes, 26, with first-degree reckless homicide, among other charges, according to the Associated Press

Untrell Oden, 27, has been charged with two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon butwas not accused of participating in the shooting, the AP reported. 

Barnes and Oden had not had a bond hearing as of Wednesday, according to the AP. 

“The motive is still being determined,” said Sgt. Sheronda Grant, a spokeswoman for the Milwaukee Police Department, according to The New York Times

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

Parks’ mother, Bernice Parks, said her daughter was “everything this world was not,” in a video by the Journal Sentinel

“My baby was not violent. My baby did not like violence,” Bernice Parks said of her daughter, her middle child. “Everybody that she knew, everybody that came her path, she made them happy.” 

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