Chicago police: Jonylah Watkins killed over stolen video game system
NBC Chicago – A 33-year-old man was charged Monday in the Chicago shooting of 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins, police said.
Koman Willis, of the 7800 block of South Saint Lawrence Avenue, was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm after he allegedly shot Jonylah and her father on March 11, according to police.
Police said Willis turned himself in with his attorney present around 4 p.m. Saturday and was charged at 2:45 a.m. Monday.
According to police, Willis, who is a documented gang member and has been arrested 38 times prior to the shooting, was aiming at the infant’s father, Jonathan Watkins, and shot him over a stolen video game system.
It is not clear why Willis suspected Jonathan Watkins in the burglary, but Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said it is not likely that Watkins will be charged in the theft due to “too many variables.”
McCarthy called the investigation a “milestone” and said he believes pressure from police led Willis to turn himself him.
“There came a point where we believed that we could take him into custody rather than just interview him, and we went out looking for him,” he said.
Despite original reports suspecting the shooting was gang-related, McCarthy said the incident was based on the burglary and not the father’s or Willis’ gang ties.
“This was a real hard one for the team,” said Lieutenant Kevin Duffin, who led the investigation. “It was a toll on everbody working on it.”
Duffin said last week detectives spoke with witnesses that led to information involving Willis, which along with police evidence led to his arrest.
“They were going to solve this crime,” McCarthy said.
Jonylah Watkins died March 12 after she sustained gunshots a day earlier to the thigh, shoulder, lung, liver and bowels on the 6500 block of South Maryland Avenue in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood.
Jonylah was in the family van with her father when someone approached and opened fire, police said.
Friends and family gathered a week after Watkins’ death to remember the 6-month-old girl, who was fatally shot while sitting on her father’s lap.
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