A 1-year-old girl lying in her crib at home in Compton was struck in the head and killed by a bullet likely meant for her gang-member father, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said Wednesday.
The girl died in one of the most violent areas of Los Angeles County after a gunman got out of a car and fired at least five rounds Tuesday evening at a converted garage where the child and her parents live.
The shooting sparked a plea from the mayor of Compton for residents to renew the fight against gang attacks.
The girl’s mother, Blanche Wandick, said her daughter was in her crib when the shooting began.
“My innocent baby got shot for nothing,” the tearful Wandick, who is pregnant, told TV reporters. “I miss my baby, I love my baby. I appreciate anybody and everybody who’s helping try to find who did it.”
Authorities were searching for the gunman and the driver of the getaway car. They were seen speeding away from the neighborhood in a dark sedan.
Investigators believe the shooter wanted to hit the child’s 24-year-old father, who has acknowledged being a member of a street gang, sheriff’s Lt. John Corina said.
“He was probably the intended target, and a stray bullet caught his daughter,” Corina said, adding that the father was “somewhat cooperative” with detectives. His name was not released.
Compton Mayor Aja Brown identified the child as 1-year-old Autumn Johnson and asked for help from the public.
“I stand today with Compton residents in recommitting ourselves to the fight against gang violence,” the mayor said.
The shooting occurred in one of the more violent neighborhoods in Los Angeles County, according to crime data compiled by the Los Angeles Times. Nearly all the tidy homes have bars on the windows.
During the past six months, Compton has had 475 violent crimes, including eight homicides, according to the newspaper.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.