12-year-old called ‘Hero’ after taking a bullet for baby niece

Makayla Saulter is in critical condition and her baby cousin was unharmed.

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As theGrio previously reported, a 12-year-old girl named Makayla Saulter was shot in the head while covering her baby cousin after a gunman, Jason Michael Mesich, began shooting at them in Minnesota on Aug 30.

“She’s a hero,” Makalya’s aunt, Reverend Marcia Westbook, told Today. “She was going to protect the baby no matter what. She’s a protector.”

Makayla and her 29-year-old sister, Canisha Saulter, were helping their aunt move things from a truck when then they heard noises coming from someone’s front yard.

READ MORE: Florida couple arrested after shooting at Black father, son returning U-Haul

Mesich, who had just killed his wife Angela, left his home and began shooting at his neighbors. He believed they may have seen him kill his wife and told authorities that he disliked them.

Makayla collapsed, cradling 18-month-old Winter with her unconscious body, PEOPLE reported.

When police arrived at Mesich’s house after 11 p.m., they found Angela’s body.

They also engaged in a shootout with Mesich before he surrounded.

“The subject inside the residence refused to come out and fired multiple rounds from inside the house. At one point, a Bloomington Officer returned fire. The subject eventually was taken into custody and was uninjured,” authorities said.

Both sisters are reported to be alive, the Bloomington police said in a statement, saying Makayla is in critical condition and Canisha, who got shot multiple times in the legs, is in serious condition.

READ MORE: 18 shot overnight in Cincinnati, at least four dead

The family has set up a GoFundMe campaign, seeking funds to help cover medical expenses for Makayla, as they are uncertain “how long she will be in the hospital or if she will ever fully recover,” Westbrook wrote.

The alleged gunman is being held on bail for $1 million on one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder, according to PEOPLE.

Mesich has not pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be in court on Sept. 30.

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