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7-Year-Old Shot Dead During Indiana Birthday Party Amid Rising National Violence

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Jake Dima Contributor
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A 7-year-old girl was reportedly shot dead in South Bend, Indiana, at an outdoor birthday party Saturday in a drive-by-style attack, local news outlets report, as violence continues to rise nationwide.

Chrisyah Stephens was purportedly shot after 60-70 people moved outdoors to celebrate the birthday of one of her relatives with ice cream and cake, SlyLavecchio Hines, Stephen’s uncle, told the South Bend Tribune. Stephens was pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital, the outlet reported.

“We were standing right here,” Hines told the Tribune while he pointed to the area where the shooting occurred. “I would say about 20 seconds after we came outside, we hear gunshots, ‘Pow, pow, pow.’”

“I ran and I was trying to grab her, to block her from the bullets,” Hines continued, according to the local news site. “But it was too late. As soon as I grabbed her, her body got heavy. I laid her down, I called her name, and then I seen the blood.”

Stephens was one of four shooting victims in South Bend las weekend, as the city nears a total of 100 people shot so far in 2020, according to a statement from the department’s police chief Scott Ruszkowski released on Facebook Sunday. The three other victims were reportedly shot in separate incidents, law enforcement told the Tribune.
“Just this weekend, we’ve already had 4 people shot. One being an innocent 7-year-old girl, playing at a birthday party. We’re almost at 100 people criminally shot this year,” Ruszkowski said in the statement. “As a community, we can no longer accept this senseless violence and we all have to do our part.”

South Bend had the highest number of violent crime incidents in Indiana last year, and the city experienced a 78% uptick in violent actions from 2018 to 2019, according to last year’s FBI data. Of the three cities the FBI analyzed for violent crime, South Bend had the lowest population, statistics show. (RELATED: 1-Year-Old Baby Dies After Getting Shot In The Stomach During NYC Cookout, According To Police)

Homicides have risen 24% nationally in the 50 largest U.S. cities and shooting incidents have soared precipitously, according to analysis of data by the Wall Street Journal in the beginning of August. A total of 3,612 have been killed in the places analyzed and incident rates for robberies have fallen, WSJ reported.

Violence has increased after widespread protest, unrest and riots following the death of George Floyd, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes May 25, video showed. Many cities have seen a resurgence of unrest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot multiple times in the back during an arrest attempt in Kenosha, Wisconsin, video shows.

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