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Homicide Detectives Hunt For Suspects In Shooting Death Of 1-Year-Old Compton Girl

COMPTON (CBSLA.com) — Homicide detectives Wednesday continued to investigate the shooting death of a 1-year-old girl in Compton.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, deputies were sent around 7 p.m. Tuesday to a home located in the 300 block of North Holly Avenue for report of a gunshot victim.

Upon their arrival, authorities located the victim, a black female infant, suffering from a gunshot wound to her head.

Deputies transported the child to a hospital in their patrol car.

The infant succumbed to her injuries at the hospital. The coroner's office has identified the victim as Autumn Marie Johnson.

Autumn Johnson
(credit: Kenya Hicks/Autumn Johnson's great aunt)

CBS2's Jasmine Viel reported Blanche Wandick was giving Johnson a bottle before bed when she heard gunfire and saw a bullet hit her baby.

"My innocent baby got shot for nothing," said Wandick, "She was just standing in her crib."

A preliminary investigation revealed the bullet went through the garage of the home and struck Johnson in the head.

Gunfire also struck the family's dog.

According to deputies, the baby's father was the intended target of the shooting.

Witnesses described the suspects as two black men who traveled in a dark colored, four-door sedan, believed to be a Chevy Impala.

Authorities said the shooting appears to be gang-related. The gunman fired at least 10 rounds, officials said.

"They're not thinking. 'Well, I might hit someone innocent,'" said Lt. John Corina of the LA County Sheriff's Department. "Nor do I think they care."

"Last night in Compton a tragedy that no parent should ever have to face occurred," Mayor Aja Brown said in a written statement. "There is no justification for this horrendous tragedy. There is no excuse that anyone can give for taking the life of a precious baby girl who had not even begun to realize her full potential in life. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Autumn Johnson and with all those impacted by violence."

CBS2's Dave Lopez reported that the father told police he was a gang member and the likely target but he doesn't know why.

The baby's grandfather -- Daryl Johnson -- concurred that his son had gang ties but that he turned his life around after the baby was born. "It's the worst thing I've had to go through. It's not explainable. It's senseless," he said.

The investigation is ongoing.

A vigil in the victim's memory is planned for Thursday at 6 p.m. near  the home on Palmer & Bradfield.

KCAL9's Tom Wait reported the city will vote Tuesday on a $25,000 reward for information leading to information and the arrest of the suspects.

Relatives of the little girl are angry and grief-stricken and also in disbelief.

"I just want you guys to keep our family in your prayers," said Kenyia Hicks, the girl's aunt. "To see the heartache and pain that my nephew is going through, to see the pain that Blanche is enduring. To see the pain my sister is enduring at losing her grandchild."

Anyone with information regarding this incident has been urged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

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