Eight-year old Jasmine Sanders played with her infant brother for last time
Sun had since gave way to darkness and the scent of her mother’s frying pork chops were calling out for dinner time as young Jasmine Sanders continued to play on her purple plastic scooter with her three-year old baby brother Jaylen Sanders.
“Come on in Jasmine, it’s getting cold and you have to get ready for school,” her mother Shandonna Kinney remembered saying.
“ Naw, mom, I want to play some more,” Kinney recalled Jasmine stating.
It was roughly 8p.m., on Wednesday July 25, and while Jasmine didn’t really want to stop playing with Jaylen and riding on the back of the scooter, she obeyed her mother and began escorting her brother to their upstairs apartment on east 76th street in South Los Angeles.
It is a region of this highly populated city that is strife with gang activity, but for a single welfare mother as the 32-year old Kinney is, where she resided with her three children was not a matter of her choice.
She had been living in the apartment for three months before her life was dramatically changed.
Jasmine ushered Jaylen up the stairs and then as she reached back for her scooter, gunshots rang out. Kinney screamed, fearing for the safety of both children and the life of her own.
She rushed down the stairs, whisked away Jaylen and then urged for Jasmine to hurry up.
Once she discovered that Jasmine was not moving at all, she rushed to her aid and discovered she was flush with blood.
Kinney screamed, “Call 911, my baby has been shot! Please Help!”
Kinney checked for a pulse. First at the wrist and then at the neck, weakening with each passing second. She lifted Jasmine’s shirt as saw the huge hole in her chest.
Finally, she carried her daughter upstairs to their apartment. She felt that Jasmine was getting cold when she touched her lower back.
Her daughter’s once glowing eyes began to yellow, and then she knew.
The paramedics arrived 15 minutes after the fatal shooting, but not even they could have saved Jasmine.
A mother’s worst nightmare thus became a reality for Kinney. Her only daughter, who would have celebrated her ninth birthday in August, had died.
Six days after the murder of her child, the tears were still fresh, her emotions still raw and she carried a purse full of pictures of what once was.
Here’s one of Jasmine on her eighth birthday. Another showed her in a relaxing moment with her mother. Yet another with her 12-year old brother Jeremiah Edwards, and yet another with Jasmine, Jeremiah and Jaylen.
The day following the murder, police arrested a 13-year old boy, suspected as being the triggerman. Another teenager being sought is still at large.
Sources say the killer frequently played with Jasmine’s brother Jeremiah.
Young Jaylen has been silent since the death of his sister, his lack of emotions becoming a concern for his mother who has since moved from the dwelling.
On this day, Kinney had several appointments to make. One with Social Services, which had relocated her to a temporary motel on Western Ave., and another with a local church.
Then there is that day where she will dress her daughter for the final time at Solomon’s Mortuary on 106 South Broadway, where funeral services will be held on Saturday, August 2 at 11 a.m.
Kinney says that Jasmine dreamed of one day being an entertainer and buying a home for her family.
She was well liked at Manchester Elementary School and 75th Street School where she attended.
School was her favorite. She played soccer and was a play leader and even was chosen to sing the pledge of allegiance.
Tragically, her life was cut short before it even began. In an American city where many dreams are dashed, this is not a nightmare, it’s real and ultimately it’s quite sad.