It was nearly midnight when 6-year-old Aniya Allen was riding in the back of her mother’s car after a day-long outing of swimming and shopping. The family stopped at a McDonald’s on the way home near 36th and Penn avenues in Minneapolis. Aniya was eating a Happy Meal when her family got caught in an unexpected crossfire, leaving the young girl with a bullet lodged in her brain. She was taken to Hennepin Healthcare where two days later she was pronounced dead.
Aniya was one of three children shot in the span of three weeks amid growing gun violence in Minneapolis and other cities around the country.
Two other children, 10-year-old Ladavionne Garrett, Jr. and 9-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith, were also hit by stray bullets. Ladavionne was shot while riding in a car with his parents. Trinity was shot as she was jumping on a trampoline. She was the second child to die of a gunshot wound.
More than two months later, no one has been arrested for the shootings.
Aniya’s grandfather, long-time peace activist K.G. Wilson, identified Aniya Allen as his granddaughter and posted news of her death on Facebook. “I just went from sad to mad. Right now all I want to know is who did this?” Wilson wrote.
Wilson has devoted years of his life to keeping kids out of gangs, guns off the streets and to supporting families struck by gun violence. He joined MPR News host Cathy Wurzer to talk about his decision to leave Minneapolis after his nearly 20-year tenure in the city.
The community leader described the agony and grief he feels over the lack of justice in the recent shootings that killed his granddaughter and another child. He pleaded with community members to step forward with any information.
Anyone with information can call the CrimeStoppers line at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
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