A 13-year-old Wisconsin girl who had spoken out against gun violence was killed in Milwaukee this week from a stray bullet, PEOPLE confirms.
Authorities say eight-grade student Sandra Parks died on Monday after being shot inside her home on North 13th Street.
Thanks to help from members of the community, officers “were able to take a 26-year-old Milwaukee man into custody” in connection with the shooting, according to a Milwaukee police statement.
A second man has since been arrested and charged with unlawful weapons possession.
In an interview with local TV station WISN, Sandra’s sister, Tatiana Ingram, said that at the time of the shooting, Sandra had been watching television.
“My sister took it like a soldier: She just walked in and said, ‘Mama, I’m shot,’ ” Ingram recalled. “She was only hit one time, in her chest. The bullet wasn’t even for her.”
While the investigation is ongoing, Milwaukee County prosecutors charged Isaac D. Barnes, 26, with first-degree reckless homicide, among other counts. Untrell Oden, 27, is charged with two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon.
Only Barnes has been accused of participating in the shooting. His first-degree reckless homicide charge carries a sentence of up to 60 years in prison.
Should he be convicted, Oden faces up to 10 years in prison for each charge. It was unclear if either man has entered a plea or retained an attorney who could comment on their behalf.
Both men remain behind bars, according to jail records.
A police spokeswoman said Wednesday the motive for the shooting “is still being determined,” according to the New York Times. (The Milwaukee Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.)
In a copy of the complaint obtained by PEOPLE, a detective reported that according, to Sandra’s mother, Bernice Parks, at the time of the shooting both she and her daughters were at their home on North 13th Street.
While Bernice went to bed around 7 that night, her kids had stayed awake to watch television.
About 7:45 p.m., Bernice said “she was awoken by the sound of gunfire,” according to the complaint. “The next thing she heard was [Sandra] yelling ‘I’m shot! I’m shot!’ ” After going to the living room, she found her daughter “lying on the floor bleeding.”
Although members of the Milwaukee Police Department and the Milwaukee Fire Department both tried to save the child’s life after arriving at the residence, Sandra was pronounced dead at the scene.
Another detective recovered six spent casing in front of the roadway and “observed four bullet strikes” to the window where Sandra had been watching TV.
An autopsy performed by the Milwaukee County MEdical Examiner’s Office found that Sandra “suffered a single gunshot wound to her upper right flank area,” and she died of blood loss.
The complaint states taht a woman who identified herself as Barnes’ ex-girlfriend told detectives she had come across Barnes the night of the shooting while parked outside her sister’s home nearby.
The woman said Barnes had allegedly “approached her vehicle wearing a mask and holding a large AK-47 style firearm.”
Later, while looking door to door, detectives were able to recover two firearms in a residence where they also found Barnes “hiding in a closet,” the complaint states. Odem was found at the same location.
Oden allegedly went on to tell detectives that he saw Barnes “shooting at an unknown target as they walked from the store.” Authorities say he also admitted that Barnes had “approached him about keeping his guns” at Oden’s home “and that he had handled both of the guns in the past.”
The complaint shows both men have criminal records involving guns: Barnes was convicted of armed robbery in September 2010 while Oden was convicted of armed robbery in April 2011.
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When Sandra was in sixth grade, she won third place in the 2016-17 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing contest, according to the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association.
“Sometimes, I sit back and I have to escape from what I see and hear every day. I put my headphones on and let the music take me away. I move to the beat and try to think about life and what everything means. When I do; I come to the same conclusion…we are in a state of chaos,” she wrote in her essay, titled “Our Truth.”
“In the city in which I live, I hear and see examples of chaos almost everyday,” she continued. “Little children are victims of senseless gun violence.”
Sandra wrote, “We must not allow the lies of violence, [r]acism, and prejudice to be our truth. The truth begins with us. Instead of passing each other like ships in the night, we must fight until our truths stretch to the ends of the world.”
“My baby did not like violence,” Sandra’s mother, Bernice, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “She was my angel from the time she was in my womb to the time she came out.”
A GoFundMe page created by Bernice to raise money to help pay for her young daughter’s memorial service reached its fundraising goal within just two days. As of this writing, more than $20,000 has been donated.