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Indiana girl, 7, is killed in drive-by shooting while attending relative's birthday party just moments after kids broke open pinata and started eating cake and ice cream

A 7-year-old girl was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting while attending a relative's birthday party in northern Indiana on Saturday, according to police.
Chrisyah Stephens was one of between 60 and 70 guests at a birthday party that was taking place just outside of a home on the 800 block of East Donald Street in South Bend.
The shooting occurred Saturday around 7:40pm when multiple shots were fired from a vehicle driving by the home in South Bend.
'We were standing right here,' Chrisyah's uncle, SlyLavecchio Hines told the South Bend Tribune.
Hines was pointing to an area near the front stoop of the house.
Chrisyah Stephens
Chrisyah Stephens
Chrisyah Stephens, 7, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting while attending a birthday party in South Bend, Indiana, on Saturday
The shooting occurred Saturday around 7:40pm when multiple shots were fired from a vehicle driving by the home in South Bend.
The shooting occurred Saturday around 7:40pm when multiple shots were fired from a vehicle driving by the home in South Bend.
Chrisyah was among 70 other guests at the birthday party just outside of a home on the 800 block of East Donald Street in South Bend
Chrisyah was among 70 other guests at the birthday party just outside of a home on the 800 block of East Donald Street in South Bend
Chrisyah and the other children attending the party had just finished breaking open a pinata and were getting ready to get ice cream and cake when gunshots were fired
Chrisyah and the other children attending the party had just finished breaking open a pinata and were getting ready to get ice cream and cake when gunshots were fired
'I would say about 20 seconds after we came outside, we hear gunshots, "Pow, pow, pow".'
Chrisyah and the other children attending the party had just finished breaking open a pinata and were getting ready to get ice cream and cake when gunshots were fired. 

She was seriously injured and later died at an area hospital, police told WNDU-TV.
Although several people were standing in front of the home, she was the only shooting victim, according to authorities.
Well-wishers left balloons near the scene of the shooting on Sunday
Well-wishers left balloons near the scene of the shooting on Sunday
An autopsy was scheduled to be conducted on Monday morning in Fort Wayne.
The St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit has taken over the investigation.
Hines said that when he heard the gunshots, he ran to Chrisyah. 
'I ran and I was trying to grab her, to block her from the bullets,' Hines said on Sunday. 
'But it was too late. As soon as I grabbed her, her body got heavy. I laid her down, I called her name, and then I seen the blood.'
Chrisyah's killing has left the family 'hurt and heartbroken,' Hines said. 
He told the Tribune that the shooter fired from a white car, possibly a Chevy Malibu.
Hines said it appeared the car had tinted windows and black wheels.
He said he heard three shots fired from the car as it was approaching Donald Street from the south and three more shots after it crossed Donald.
The car then drove away.
Hines could not say how many people were in the car, though he is certain the shots were fired from the passenger-side window.
Cannon Hinnant, 5, was riding his bike in front of his father's house in Wilson on Sunday when Sessoms approached and shot him in the head. The motive has not been released
Darius Sessoms, 25, was charged on Monday with the murder of five-year-old Cannon Hinnant in North Carolina
Cannon Hinnant, 5, was riding his bike in front of his father's house in Wilson, North Carolina on Sunday when Sessoms approached and shot him in the head. The motive has not been released
He said it was unclear if the shooter was a driver or a passenger.
Hines believes that the shooter fired directly at the house.
'I think they was targeting us,' Hines said.
When asked why anyone would want to target them, Hines responded that he did not know. 
The fatal shooting of Chrisyah on Saturday is the latest in a series of horrific tragedies that have claimed the lives of young children nationwide as the country has experienced an alarming surge in violent crime in recent months.
In South Bend alone, three other people were shot and wounded. Since the start of the calendar year, nearly 100 people in the city have fallen victim to gun violence.
Earlier this summer, the fatal shootings of young children shocked Americans nationwide.
North Carolina police charged a neighbor with the murder of a five-year-old boy who was riding a bike in his own yard when he was shot at point blank range on the evening of August 9. 
Darius Sessoms, 25, was taken into custody by Wilson police around 24 hours after he allegedly approached Cannon Hinnant in front of the young boy's father's house at 5:30pm and shot him in the head. 
Hinnant's seven-year-old and eight-year-old sisters witnessed the killing. 
Seven-year-old Natalia Wallace was standing on the sidewalk outside her grandmother's house on the Chicago's West Side during a Fourth of July party when, according to police, suspects climbed from a car and opened fire.
Seven-year-old Natalie Wallace (pictured) was among the at least 17 people killed in shootings in Chicago on the Fourth of July
Seven-year-old Natalie Wallace (pictured) was among the at least 17 people killed in shootings in Chicago on the Fourth of July
The child was shot in the head.
About three hours after Natalia was shot, a group of young men police believe are members of a gang jumped from a vehicle in the Englewood neighborhood on the city's South Side and opened fire on a rival gang member.
‘They shot and killed him and they stand over him and keep shooting’ before jumping back in the car and fleeing the scene, Deputy Chief Brendan Deenihan told reporters Monday morning.
But a child, 14-year-old Vernado Jones Jr, was nearby and one of the bullets fired at the man who was killed struck Vernado in the armpit.
‘He had nothing to do with gang-on-gang violence. He was not the intended target,’ Deenihan said.
Natalia's death came amid a spate of shootings around the United States that left several children dead, including a 6-year-old boy in San Francisco, a 6-year-old boy in Philadelphia,an 8-year-old girl in Atlanta, an 11-year-old girl in Columbia, Missouri, and 8-year-old boy in Hoover, Alabama. 
Public officials in Atlanta were outraged after the shooting death of an 8-year-old girl, Secoriea Turner, on Independence Day.
At least two people opened fire on the car she was riding in near a flashpoint of recent protests against police brutality.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for justice in Secoriea's death during an emotional July 5 news conference with the girl's grief-stricken mother.
Last month, The Wall Street Journal found that reported homicides were up 24 per cent in the nation’s 50 largest cities.
Secoriea Turner (above) was shot to death in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 4th while sitting in a car across the street from the Wendy's parking lot where Rayshard Brooks was killed by a police officer
Secoriea Turner (above) was shot to death in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 4th while sitting in a car across the street from the Wendy's parking lot where Rayshard Brooks was killed by a police officer
The Journal did a statistical analysis which found that while shootings and gun violence rose, there was a drop in other violent crimes, including robbery.
Cities that have long been plagued by violent crime saw their figures increase, including Philadelphia, Detroit, Memphis, and Chicago.
The Windy City leads the nation in homicides. According to figures, approximately one in every eight homicides takes place in Chicago.
Earlier this month, a man was charged in the shooting death of a four-year-old Kansas City, Missouri, boy whose killing sparked a federal anti-crime task force that has sent hundreds of federal agents to several cities to fight violent crime.
Ryson Ellis, 22, of Kansas City, was charged with second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action in the death of LeGend Taliferro, who was struck by a bullet on June 29 while he slept on the floor of his father's apartment.
Ellis allegedly shot blindly into the back of the Citadel Apartments unit where the boy's father, Raphael Taliferro, lives and had taken in his sister who has a child with the suspect.
After the Kansas City boy was killed in June by a gunshot meant for somebody else, the Trump administration launched a nationwide crackdown on violent crime named in his honor. 
President Donald Trump and his attorney general, Bill Barr, have touted the operation, spread across nine US cities, as a much-needed answer to spiking crime that Trump claims is caused, at least in part, by the police reform movement and protests that have swept across the U.S. since George Floyd’s death in May. 
Trump has seized on the operation to showcase what he says is his law-and-order prowess, claiming he’s countering rising crime in cities run by Democrats. 
'The future of our country, and indeed our civilization, is at stake,' Trump said last week. 
Ryson Ellis, 22, of Kansas City, was charged earlir this month with second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action
LeGend Taliferro, four, was struck by a bullet June 29 while he slept on the floor of his father's apartment in Missouri
Ryson Ellis, 22, of Kansas City, was charged earlier this month with second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action. LeGend Taliferro, four, was struck by a bullet June 29 while he slept on the floor of his father's apartment in Missouri
President Donald Trump holds a photo of LeGend Taliferro as he speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on August 13
President Donald Trump holds a photo of LeGend Taliferro as he speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on August 13
'These are all Democrat-run places. But these are people that don’t have any clue what they’re doing.'
But spiking crime defies easy explanation, experts say, pointing to a toxic mix of issues facing America in 2020: an unemployment rate not seen in a generation, a pandemic that has killed more than 175,000 people, stay-at-home orders, rising anger over police brutality, intense stress, even the weather.
And to the 300 investigators deployed to the nine cities, and the local law enforcement getting help, this isn’t about politics. 
It’s about reducing crime, working to solve outstanding cases and prioritizing the arrest of violent criminals. 
Police have welcomed the partnership, as they have with previous operations, and some activists are cautiously optimistic. 
Despite what Trump has claimed, the operation is routine. Some federal operations go on for months or years, and the arrests can number in the thousands.
So far, Operation Legend has yielded over 1,000 arrests for both state and federal crimes, like murder and drug and robbery offenses, with many of the people already wanted by police. 
Some 200 people are facing steeper federal charges, and 400 illegal firearms were seized. 
Besides Kansas City, Detroit and Cleveland, the Justice Department has sent additional personnel to Chicago, Albuquerque, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Memphis. 
In Detroit, agents circled a motel that police officials said had been a hotbed for criminal activity for years. 
As the caravan pulled into the parking lot of the yellow building, Barr and Police Chief James Craig hovered overhead in a helicopter outfitted with special cameras to watch from the sky.
Five people were arrested, and agents seized three ounces of cocaine, one ounce of fentanyl and a handgun.
Craig said the execution of the operation - and in some cases bringing federal charges, which generally result in stiffer penalties - will help to drive down violent crime in Detroit and get so-called 'trigger-pullers' off the street.  

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