By Karen Stokes
Milwaukee and Racine police are looking for information on two separate shootings last week involving young children. Laylah Petersen 5, of Milwaukee and Ja’Nyela Marsh-Highshaw 4, of Racine had their lives changed forever in two presumably random acts of senseless violence. On Thursday, November 6, at 6:00 p.m., Laylah was sitting on her grandfather’s lap reading when bullets were fired into the home and struck Laylah in the head; she died at the hospital, according to authorities.
The shooting happened at 58th St. and Fairmount Avenue, where Laylah and her sister lived with their grandparents.
At a news conference, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said, “This was not even a shootout between two idiots; this was a targeted shooting at this house for reasons unknown.” Police don’t believe that anyone from the house was being targeted and the house may have been attacked by mistake.
No one else in the home was hurt. The police found 12 casings at the scene which are being processed for evidence.
Laylah, who attended Northwest Catholic School, is the 11th child under the age of 13 to have been shot this year in Milwaukee, compared to two last year, Flynn stated. Laylah’s family is donating her heart to help save the life of another child.
“We know that as awful as this event has been, she is going to live on and save a life,” Flynn added.
According to WISN 12, several businesses pooled funds together to offer a $5000 reward for information leading to an arrest or conviction.
This money is in addition to a $5000 reward being offered by the ATF.
Alderman Willie Wade, serving the 7th district, said in an interview with FOX 6, “A lot of crimes get solved through community and police relationships. About 50 percent of critical information comes from a tip from a citizen.”
Anyone with information regarding this case can contact the Milwaukee Police Department at (414) 935-7360.
In Racine, on November 5, the day prior to the Laylah Petersen incident, Ja”Nyela Marsh Highshaw was shot while sitting in a parked car on the south side of Racine.
According to WISN, at approximately 5:45 p.m., multiple shots were fired at the car and struck the 4-year-old in the head. Police found several casings surrounding the car.
Ja’Nyela was flown to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee by Flight for Life where she is currently in stable condition.
“Everybody has faith that she is going to get up and she is,” said Janikka Marsh, La’Nyela’s mother, in an interview with FOX 6. “I had a talk with the neurosurgeon and they said as far as they can see, she is winning the fight.” “My faith is keeping me strong,” Marsh continued. “She comes from two strong families, she’s a fighter.”
With this case and the Peterson shooting, authorities have yet to discover a motive.
“There’s a big worry because we don’t know who did this or if there was a motive behind it,” Marsh said.
Anyone with information on this case, contact the Racine Police Department at (262) 886-2300. No arrests have been made for either shooting. Investigations for both incidents are on going.