MILWAUKEE – A 13-year-old girl was killed in her bedroom when shots were fired into her Milwaukee home and police are trying to figure out if it was a random attack or if someone in the house was targeted.
Police arrested a 26-year-old man in the Monday night shooting, but no charges have been filed. Police did not reveal his identity, and said they don't know yet if the shooting was random or Sandra's house had been targeted.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett described the senselessness of the violence.
"Sandra Parks, a 13-year-old, went into her bedroom. She never came out alive." Barrett said during news conference outside his office Tuesday. "Tragically, her death was caused by someone who just decided they were going shoot bullets into her house and she's dead."
No other family members were hurt in the shooting around 8 p.m.
Bernice Parks, Sandra's mother, tearfully told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that her daughter "was everything this world is not."
"My baby was not violent. My baby did not like violence," she said.
The Journal Sentinel reported that Sandra had taken third place just two years earlier in a citywide competition with her essay commemorating the life of Martin Luther King.
Sandra wrote of seeing "examples of chaos almost every day" and lamented "little children" who were victims of "senseless gun violence."
The newspaper reported at least three children have been fatally shot in the city in recent years by bullets fired from outside their homes, including a 5-year-old girl who was sitting on her grandfather's lap at the time.
"It is a tragedy that another innocent child's life has been cut short over nothing," Alderman Russell Stamper said in a statement. "While I am both hurt and angry about this senseless death, the family needs the love and support of the community right now. I encourage acts of comfort, kindness, and generosity on their behalf."
Barrett said Sandra's death is "part of the insanity" of gun violence in Milwaukee and elsewhere, noting Monday's fatal shootings at a Chicago hospital .
"We don't have leadership at the national level, we haven't had leadership at the state level that say: 'We're going to address this issue,'" he said.
Sandra's death was the city's 95th homicide so far this year. In 2017, there were 101 homicides by this point in the year, according to police. Barrett said homicides in the city have decreased overall by 25 percent since 2016.