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OffbeatA 6-year-old got shot in an apparent gang fight. Here's what her mother wants you to know

20:32  31 october  2018
20:32  31 october  2018 Source:   latimes.com

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“She wanted to get away from here and have a good life.” Was she killed because she was in a car with targeted gang members, the working theory of the Chicago Police Department? Her mother does not believe Veronica was the intended target, and she has little hope that the police will arrest

“I took her and I rocked her to sleep," said Kenyia Hicks, while fighting back tears. "Little did I know , when she closed her eyes, that was going to be my Autumn Johnson and her father are seen in a family photo. She had just celebrated her first birthday last week, according to a GoFundMe page set

A 6-year-old got shot in an apparent gang fight. Here's what her mother wants you to know© Christina House/Los Angeles Times/TNS Emely Ramirez, 6, center, spends time with her mom Brenda Ramirez, 35, left, and sister Brenda Lopez, 17, right, at the family's party decoration shop in South Los Angeles on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Emely was shot in the back at a gas station near their home in South Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES - There's a bullet inside Emely Ramirez, but it only hurts when the 6-year-old bends down.

On a rainy Friday night this month, she was strapped into her car seat at a South Los Angeles gas station - her mother and 13-year-old sister were trading jokes outside the car. A nearby Pontiac was making Emely's mother, Brenda Ramirez, nervous. Then a BMW pulled up and people from both cars began shooting at one another.

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An 80- year - old woman celebrating her granddaughter’ s high school graduation at a nearby table was also pushed to the floor. One group of attackers raced away in a cherry red Dodge Neon. Jason Sutherlin, a 33- year - old with the words “TIME BOMB” tattooed across his knuckles, rode shotgun.

In the ensuing gunfight, the shooters didn't hit one another. But a bullet struck Emely in the back.

Emely's mother was screaming to her two older daughters to get on the ground as she scrambled to get Emely out of the car seat. Brenda said the unstrapping took longer than usual - as she felt bullets hitting metal, shattering glass. Finally she got Emely out and felt wet blood.

She said her daughter told her, "Mommy I'm tired, I want to go to sleep."

Brenda tried to keep Emely awake - asked what her teacher did in school that day, how her test had gone. Nearby, the 13-year-old was having her first seizure in two years. Her aunt, Nina Ramirez, would later say this was the only seizure she was glad to hear of, because her niece doesn't remember the shooting.

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Almost 15 years have passed since Patti Colbath walked into her backyard and saw her It was how Max got hold of a gun. In an instant. Max was about 20 feet away from his mother when she came She knows that. In particular, her daughter who lives in San Diego and her 4- year - old granddaughter.

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It happened about 8 p.m. Oct. 12. After the shooters' cars pulled out, only one person offered help, Brenda said. He told her to wrap a sweater around Emely and hold it tight to stanch the bleeding. Emely soon was taken to a hospital, where she would spend nine days.

A 6-year-old got shot in an apparent gang fight. Here's what her mother wants you to know© Christina House/Los Angeles Times/TNS Brenda Ramirez, 35, walks home from school with her daughter Emely, 6, who was shot in the back at a gas station near their home in South Los Angeles, on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Within a day, Emely was watching cartoons and charming the police officers who visited, said Los Angeles Police Det. Ryan Bellows of the 77th Street Division.

Now, 2 1/2 weeks later, Emely is mostly herself. She's a bold kid with a huge smile and a laugh that seems to fill her whole face. She loves unicorns, the color pink and watching YouTube crafting videos. Though the bullet isn't impeding Emely, she has an appointment this week to check on it.

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She says she' s living as a six - year - old girl because it' s something she could never do when was in grade school. She says she previously lived as an eight- year - old girl, until the couple' s granddaughter asked her to be And she said to me: "I want you to be the little sister, so I’ll be nine."

On Monday, toting a pink backpack, she returned to school - to her friends and to her favorite subject, math. After school, she spent time as usual at her family's party decoration shop.

Her mother says she plans to get counseling for her through her elementary school. She says Emely is throwing more fits than usual, occasionally demanding - to no avail - that her mother buy her something.

The 13-year-old and 17-year-old, both in high school, are resisting help, their mother said. "They say, 'I'm OK,' but I know they're not."

The older one wants to stay in bed with her mom, and the 13-year-old has trouble sleeping. They don't want their mom to reclaim her car from police.

A 6-year-old got shot in an apparent gang fight. Here's what her mother wants you to know© Christina House/Los Angeles Times/TNS Emely Ramirez, 6, who was shot in the back at a gas station near her home in South Los Angeles, is photographed showing the gun shot wound on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. The shooting in Vermont-Slauson neighborhood has forced Brenda to confront the reality of danger in the neighborhood where she lives and works. Police believe the suspects were rival gang members.

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Reva McCullough, 25, says she wants her son back as authorities have now taken the boy away from his paternal grandmother, Rhonda Pasek. Pasek was pictured passed out from an apparent heroin overdose in the front passenger seat of her boyfriend' s SUV while the boy sat in the back.

"I never feel fear. I always say, 'Well, everything's gonna be good, and we're gonna fix it and everything's gonna be right,'" Brenda said. "At that moment, I feel like nothing was good and nothing was right. And I don't know why it was happening to me."

It's not fair that people who had a problem with each other disregarded her children and shot through them, she said. It's not fair that her daughter has a bullet lodged in her body. "They saw there were kids ... and they didn't care," Brenda said of the shooters. "They just care about their anger or whatever it was in their heads, the evil things."

Authorities have arrested and charged the two men they say were in the Pontiac - Corey Lee Ware, 30, and Larry Hawkins, 32 - with 10 felony counts each, including premeditated attempted murder, assault with a semiautomatic firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, authorities said. If convicted, they could face multiple sentences of 25 years to life in state prison, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said.

Police are still searching for the suspects who were in the BMW, Bellows said. Anyone with information can contact him at (323) 786-5414, or call LAPD's tip line at (800) 222-8477.

About two weeks before the shooting, Brenda said there were gunshots near the shop. Her brother told her to get on the ground. Otherwise, she said, she wouldn't have known what to do. Now she wants to see more preparation for children and adults in schools.

"If there's an earthquake I have my gallons of water here, in my car," she said. "Wherever I go, I have alcohol, bandages. ... I always prepare for everything. I wasn't prepared for this. Nobody told me how to act."

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