A one-year-old girl was fatally shot while lying in her crib after a bullet fired into her family’s California home struck her in the head, officials said.
Little Autumn Johnson was killed after a man got out of a dark-colored, four-door sedan, walked up to her Compton house and began firing Tuesday night at the converted garage where she lived with her family, police told reporters.
The man and another male sped off in the car before authorities arrived.
Responding deputies said they found the child’s father cradling his daughter, who had celebrated her first birthday just one week ago.
Because paramedics had not yet arrived, police rushed the tot to a local hospital in their patrol car, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’'s Department.
It took only two to three minutes to get to the hospital, where doctors attempted to save her before finally pronouncing her dead, authorities said.
Police said the shooting appeared to be gang-related.
Witnesses described a heart-wrenching scene following the shooting.
"They shot my baby. They shot my baby,” a woman was heard screaming, one witness told the Los Angeles Times.
An inconsolable man could also be heard yelling, “Someone, take my baby to the hospital.”
Compton Mayor Aja Brown expressed her condolences to Autumn’s family, saying in a statement: “There is no justification for this horrendous tragedy. There is no excuse that anyone can give for taking the life of a precious baby girl who had not even begun to realize her full potential in life.”
She called on those with information about the killing to come forward.
“Please, have compassion and help Autumn’s family achieve justice by contacting local law enforcement officials if you know anything about this crime and the suspects sought," she said.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500 or to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).
A GoFundMe page was created by someone claiming to be a family member to pay funeral costs.
The page noted Autumn “was a very sweet and very happy baby. She was the (family’s) baby who nobody could get enough of.
“Please help us lay her to rest.”