Sandra Parks, a 13-year-old girl from Milwaukee who wrote an award-winning essay about gun violence and its effects on kids like her, died on Monday night after being hit by a stray bullet.
“Little children are victims of senseless gun violence,” she wrote in the 2016 essay, according to CNN. “I sit back and I have to escape from what I see and hear every day. When I do; I come to the same conclusion … we are in a state of chaos.”
The young girl was hit by a stray bullet when someone opened fire near her house. The bullet entered Sandra’s bedroom as she was watching television. Her sister, Tatiana Ingram, told the local news station, “My sister took it like a soldier: She just walked in the room and said, ‘Mama, I’m shot.’” Ingram added, “She was only hit one time, in her chest. The bullet wasn’t even for her.”
Sandra placed third in the Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest back in 2016 where she emphatically spoke against violence, called for a more empathetic society, and talked about the importance of education.
On Wednesday, Isaac D. Barnes, 26, and Untrell Oden, 27, were arrested and charged with first-degree reckless homicide and other counts. Detectives recovered a pistol and semiautomatic rifle in the house Oden and Barnes were occupying. After ballistics testing, authorities determined that the casings from the recovered pistol match those found at the crime scene.