Milwaukee teen killed after penning essay about ‘senseless gun violence’

"We are in a state of chaos," Sandra Parks, 13, wrote in an award-winning essay commemorating the life of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

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As a sixth-grader, 13-year-old Sandra Parks wrote about the senseless gun violence that plagues many urban neighborhoods, including her own hometown of Milwaukee. But on Monday night, her family was left heartbroken by her death after bullets shattered Parks’ bedroom window.

“We are in a state of chaos,” Parks stated in an award-winning essay commemorating the life of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., USA Today reports.

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“In the city in which I live, I hear and see examples of chaos almost every day. Little children are victims of senseless gun violence,” she wrote. “Many people have lost faith in America and its ability to be a living example of Dr. King’s dream!”

The eighth-grader was shot Monday night in the bedroom of her home, police said. A 26-year-old Milwaukee male was arrested as a “person of interest” as a result of a tip, the report states. By late afternoon, a second male in his late twenties was taken into custody for questioning.

“You think you’re in your own home and you be safe and you ain’t,” said family friend Laquita Gary.

Sandra’s mother, Bernice Parks, called her child “everything this world was not.”

“My baby was not violent. My baby did not like violence,” Parks said. “Everybody she knew, everybody that came past, she made them happy. She didn’t like for nobody to be sad or down,” she said. “She was my angel from the time she was in my womb.”

Milwaukee Public Schools said in a statement that Sandra Parks is the seventh student attending a district school to die by homicide in 2018. The shooting is reportedly the city’s 91st homicide this year.

“As a community, we must commit ourselves to taking whatever action is necessary to keep our children safe,” the district’s statement says.

A vigil was held outside Parks’ home Tuesday night and dozens of people braved the chilly air to honor a little girl they personally knew or had never met but who touched them with her call for peace.

“I just couldn’t imagine burying my child,” said local resident Cherise Dawson. You’re supposed to be safe in your own house.”