A story for every victim

Autumn Johnson, 1

Autumn Johnson, a 1-year-old girl, was shot and killed Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the 300 block of North Holly Avenue in Compton, according to authorities.

Shortly before 7 p.m., the child’s mother, Blanche Wandick, was preparing her child a bottle when she heard gunshots. The child was standing in her crib when she was shot in the head.

“That's all. That's all I can say. That's it. I miss my baby, I love my baby, but she is gone,” said the 21-year-old.

Behind her, blood dotted the driveway leading to the yellow garage where Wandick lives with Autumn's father.

Sheriff’s officials said that a gunman got out of a blue Chevrolet Impala, walked toward the home and fired at the garage. The gunman then got back into the car, which was seen heading south on North Holly Avenue.

Authorities are searching for two black men and are looking for witnesses, even if they choose to remain anonymous.

“We’ll take whatever we can get,” Det. Todd Anderson told the Los Angeles Times. 

Investigators are trying to determine what prompted the violence and whether it was related to a gang dispute. They believe Autumn’s father, Darrell Johnson, may have been the target of the attack.

Authorities said that Johnson heard the gunfire and ran to the garage. Inside, he found the baby and Wandick, who was hysterical.

Miguel Contreras said he was home Tuesday night and heard about four shots fired, followed by five more. He and his wife, along with their three children, threw themselves to the ground.

Contreras stepped outside when he heard screaming. He saw Johnson cradling his daughter.

“The baby was full of blood and its head was dangling from his arms,” Contreras said. “He kept saying, 'My baby, my baby.' Everyone started calling the police. It seemed like the whole world was calling 911.”

Deputies took Autumn to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where she was pronounced dead.

Autumn had been a tiny baby, under 5 pounds at birth, family members said, earning her the nickname “Minnie.”

She had just begun to talk and her sweet disposition came with a stubborn streak. She would walk for everyone except her parents.

She was “the center of attention and joy,” said her uncle, Marques Slaughter, 28. “Her smile would make you feel so good inside.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @nicolesantacruz and @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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