‘Emotional’ visitation for Jonylah: ‘Her death kind of hurt the world’
BY MITCH DUDEK Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org March 18, 2013 7:14PM
Updated: April 20, 2013 6:36AM
Jonathan and Judy Watkins quietly slipped in the back door of Leak & Sons funeral home Monday evening to view the body of their 6-month-old daughter, Jonylah, who was killed a week earlier by a still-at-large gunman.
They stood next to the three-foot six-inch casket for about 10 minutes before leaving through a rear exit, avoiding news cameras camped outside to cover the infant’s visitation.
A pink stuffed bunny lay in the casket next to Jonylah, who wore a pink dress and white winter cap embroidered with a pink teddy bear.
“It was an emotional experience for them,” funeral director Spencer Leak Sr. said of the child’s parents.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Monday he was confident investigators would catch the killer. He also spoke briefly about Jonathan Watkins, a gang member with a long arrest record whose cooperation with police over the last few days has been called into question. “At this point we think there’s a lot more he can help us with, but he is in fact cooperating with the investigation,” McCarthy said.
Most mourners who attended the visitation Monday were like Linda Davis, 56, who didn’t know the family, but felt compelled to offer condolences.
“That baby didn’t get a chance to see nothing,” said Davis, a grandmother from the Jeffery Manor neighborhood.
Another woman, who asked not to be named, said, “Her death kind of hurt the world.”
Jonathan Watkins, 29, was wounded by the same gunman who killed his daughter, but he doesn’t know who shot him, according to the Rev. Corey Brooks, who’s acting as a Watkins family spokesman.
On March 11, Watkins was sitting in a minivan in the 6500 block of South Maryland with his daughter in his when a nearby gunman opened fire, striking him three times and his daughter once, police said Monday, correcting initial reports that Watkins had been changing his daughter’s diaper during the shooting. A bullet entered Jonylah’s shoulder and exited her lower body. She survived emergency surgery but died the next morning.
Watkins, 29, is thought to have been the intended target.
Several Chicago Several Chicago Police officers were posted near the entrance of the funeral home.