Over the Father’s Day weekend, dozens of people were shot in Chicago. One of the victims killed during the surge of gun violence was thirteen-year-old Amaria Jones, who was in her living room, showing her mother her latest dance moves. Amaria was dancing for her mom on Saturday night when gunfire erupted on the street outside – and a stray bullet broke into her house and struck Amaria in the neck, ending her life.
Amaria was one of more than one hundred people who were shot in Chicago over the weekend. Unfortunately, she was one of the fourteen victims who died between Friday evening and Monday morning. Four of the people killed by gunshots were children. The youngest homicide victim was just three-years-old.
While Amaria was dancing for her mother in the living room, her mother, Lawanda Jones, saw blood gushing from her daughter’s throat in the seconds after the stray bullet struck her. Lawanda’s final memory of her beloved daughter was her reaching toward mom with fear in her eyes as blood poured from the open wound.
Amaria was the youngest of five children. She was an avid dancer who was proudly showing her new dance routine to her mom. She learned the moves through the TikTok app. But as she was dancing, gunfire erupted on their street, and the bullet broke through the window of the home, pierced through the television, and then collided with the child’s neck.
“I turned around, and I was looking for her, and she was on the ground reaching out like this, holding her neck,” Jones said of the moment she watched her daughter die. “I was like, “What?! What?! What?!”’
Amaria was taken to the Stroger Hospital of Cook County but was not able to be revived. She died of the gunshot minutes later. According to her attentive mother, Amaria dreamed of becoming an attorney who would fight for justice in America.
The same shooting that killed Amaria also injured other children. Two teenage boys who were sitting on a porch outside of Jones’s home also got shot. The 16-year-old victim was shot in the leg while the 15-year-old boy was hit in the lower back. Both were taken to the hospital and are listed as being in stable condition.
The Chicago Police Department has not yet arrested anyone in connection to the murder of 13-year-old Amaria.
Jones not only lost her daughter to gun violence but a nephew just one year ago. She has called for the murderer of her daughter to come forward and face justice like an adult.
Amaria’s tragic death tells a larger story about the gun control problem across Chicago and the United States. Three-year-old Mekhi James died from a stray bullet while riding in the backseat of his father’s car on Father’s Day weekend.
This burst of gun violence occurred after Chicago broke its own record for gunshots and gun-related deaths during the Memorial Day weekend. With nine killed and twenty-seven injured during the unofficial start of summer. The official start of summer was even more violent.
What should be done to keep children safe?