UPDATE: We are sad to report that Takiya Holmes, 11, passed away early Tuesday morning in her mother’s arms.
In an ugly incident on Chicago’s West Side, an event that has become frighteningly too common played out once again and devastated a family. The are now forced to pick up the pieces left by an episode of senseless violence that has left a little girl fighting for her life — with a similar situation just miles away.
On Saturday, 11-year-old Takiya Holmes was running errands with her mother and baby brother like many do on the weekends.
The South Side family was parked in front of the TailoRite Cleaners in Chicago’s Parkway Gardens neighborhood when tragedy struck. The child, described by loved ones as “always smiling,” is now fighting for her life after being shot in the head by a stray bullet.
Rachel Williams is Takiya’s cousin. She was leaving a debate tournament when she got a call from her mother about the news.
“I was in an Über on 79th and Halsted when she called me saying to pick up my sister and go to Comer [Children’s Hospital]. I asked why and she just said ‘go.’ I asked again and she said Takiya had been shot in the head.”
Williams, a community activist, said that while she has stood by many families struck by gun violence, this is the first time it has hit home.
“I was hurt and shocked it was like the world was ending,” said Williams, 25. “When you do this for other families, it hurts in a completely different way than when it’s your family.”
Takiya was one of two young girls shot in the head Saturday. In a separate shooting incident, 12-year-old Kanari Gentry Bowers was also struck. The bullet, like the one that struck Takiya, was meant for someone else. Family members told the Chicago Tribune that she was out playing with friends at the time of incident. She reportedly remains in critical condition. No arrests have been made in either case.
Williams spoke to EBONY.com while at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit where her little cousin remains on life support. Takiya’s mother, Naikeeia, is unable to do so, she states.
But she says she has a message for the person who fired the bullet.
“For the sake of the family turn yourself in,” she pleaded. “I understand the trauma, but you must be held accountable for the harms that you have caused.”
Police have no leads in either incident, and as Williams spoke to EBONY, doctors delivered painful news.
“We are preparing to let her go,” she says.
Chicago had 784 homicides and 4,367 shootings in 2016, according to the Chicago Tribune. This year, 403 people have been shot, up 8 percent from the year before, although homicides are down 20 percent. Takiya and Kanari are two of 27 people shot over the weekend in the city.
A group called Assata’s Daughters is in the process of raising funds for Takiya’s family. Donations can be made by clicking here.