A four-year-old Alabama girl died Wednesday when struck in the head by a stray bullet from a gunfight taking place outside her home.
Jurnee Coleman, who lived in Birmingham, Alabama, was in the kitchen on Sunday, July 28, at about 10 p.m. A fight broke out between two men just outside her home on Joppa Avenue in Marks Village public housing community in Gate City. Several shots rang out, and a stray bullet struck her head.
“One unidentified witness said two people got into a dispute. “They started shooting, and I started running. There were so many shots,” she told the AL.com.
“A lady was like, ‘Can you help me?'” she continued. “I had to turn around because I started crying. It was emotional. Seeing that little girl broke my heart.”
Police responded to the scene and learned the victim was a four-year-old child. She was rushed in critical condition to Children’s of Alabama with a trail of family and friends following.
For the next few days, family, friends and community activists from the Birmingham Justice League would gather outside the hospital, praying for Jurnee’s recovery—it never came. Jurnee died at around 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday.
“standing…laughing, smiling, keeping from crying, but that’s my only child.” Jurnee’s father, Michael Coleman said in tears.
“If anybody knows me … You know I don’t care about nothing in life but that little girl,” Coleman said.
Raymond Shine, 38, one of the gunmen was arrested on Monday at 1 a.m. He was charged on Tuesday for the attempted murder of the male victim involved in the altercation and also charged as being a certain person forbidden to possess a firearm. This verdict stemmed from 2006 when Shine was involved in another shooting. Since Jurnee has died, Shine is also charged with her death.
Mayor Randall Woodfin shared his condolences and support for the family on Social Media on Wednesday.
“Our hearts are so heavy today as we mourn the passing of 4-year-old Jurnee Coleman, who was hit by a stray bullet Sunday night. This a young girl who will never be able to fulfill her potential,” the mayor said on social media Wednesday afternoon.”
“This a young girl who will never be able to fulfill her potential. She will never have the joy of experiencing graduation with her peers or achieving her career aspirations. Her family will never know the woman she would become. Those hopes, dreams and aspirations have been cut down by the bullet of a careless, selfish gunman,”
“All that is left is a void that her family must struggle to fill. So, we must pour into them. Please join me in uplifting this family. Please work with us as we expand our conflict resolution efforts.”
The mayor said that you could hold the police, or the municipality, or the estate company responsible, but eventually it’s the adults that need to learn to restrain themselves, AL.com reported.
Her family raised a GoFundMe campaign to cover the expenses for the medical care as well in support of Jurnee’s mother and her four other children to overcome this difficult time.
“Many people have been asking for a way to donate, and for the security of her, all donations will be accepted here. Jurnee’s favorite color is purple, and she loves lip gloss. All donations will go towards medical care for Jurnee and also will be used to help her mother care for her other kids while she is unable to work at this time. All donations are accepted and welcome and will go to the mother, Larecia,” it said on GoFundMe.