Family members mourn loss of 15-year old shooting victim

By Anthony Antoine |, Amanda Porterfield |

Published 11/13 2013 07:26PM

Updated 11/15 2013 10:43AM

Latest: 10:03 pm, 11/14/13, Thursday
DECATUR -- A family is having a tough time coming to terms with the murder of a 15-year old girl. They held a candlelight vigil Thursday night for Junisha Cummings. It was in the same area where she was shot and killed just 24-hours before.

She was a student at MacArthur and loved kids. Family and friends say she had a goofy personality and loved to tell jokes.

Police say a 15-year old boy was arrested for murder. Family members hope police will be forced to patrol the area more frequently.
Latest: 6:01 pm, 11/14/13, Thursday
DECATUR -- Police make an arrest in the murder of a 15-year old girl. Police say Junisha Cummings was shot in the head. It happened about 5 pm, Wednesday, in the 1100-block of North Union Street. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine has more.

Authorities say the male suspect is also 15-years old. It's possible there could be more arrests.

People living in the area say the cycle of violence has become all too familiar. No one wants to feel unsafe at home, but violence has taken another life in this neighborhood.

"It's hard when anybody loses anyone, but to lose a baby. She was only 15."

Junisha was on her way to an after-school activity. She was waiting for her aunt to give her a ride. Then a group of people she was standing near started arguing. Shots were fired. Junisha was hit and killed.

"I'm still kind of numb. Still kind of in shock."

Stuffed animals, candles and signs now lay in the place where her body was found. The family is calling on police to do more and get the guns off the street.

"I can tell you that patrols have stepped up in that area. There's a constant police presence in the area."

"This goes around and around and around, because where they shoot and get rid of one gun, they can walk down the street and buy another one."

"I actually went into shock the same way when he was shot and I just busted into tears."

Olivia Williams knows the pain too well. Three months ago, she watched as her boyfriend was murdered in front of her home. It's less than a block away from where Junisha was killed.

"Kids used to be able to come out and play. Nowadays, they can't."

"We can't bring Junisha back, but we can try to make everything better through God."

Police say they have 24-hour surveillance of the area and are on constant patrol. A candlelight vigil for Junisha is being held.

The wake is set for Sunday, November 17, from 3 - 6 pm. The funeral is Monday at 11 am. Both services will be held at Life Builders Church of God.

The family needs help paying funeral costs. You can mail donations to:

Walker Funeral Home
566 North Water Street
Decatur, IL 62523
(217) 362 - 6214
Latest: 5:01 pm, 11/14/13, Thursday
DECATUR -- The family of a young girl murdered in broad daylight says she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. There has been an arrest in the murder of Junisha Cummings.

She was shot in the head Wednesday in the 1100-block of North Union Street. Police say a 15-year old was arrested. He's in custody and authorities are waiting for the State's Attorney's Office to decide if he'll be charged as an adult.

Thursday, family and friends were focused on remembering Junisha. They brought stuffed animals, lit candles and protested asking for an end to violence in the city.

Family say Junisha was heading to an after-school activity and was waiting for her aunt to give her a ride. Witnesses say she was near a group of people which began arguing. By the time her aunt arrived, she was dead.

Final funeral arrangements are still being made. Her service will be held at Life Builders Church of God.

The deputy chief of police says the suspect will likely face murder charges. Other suspects are being interviewed.

Junisha went to MacArthur High School. School leaders say social workers are talking to students who need to process her death. The family says Junisha was recently baptized and loved going to church.
Update: 10:16 pm, 11/13/13, Wednesday
DECATUR -- A 15-year old is shot to death in broad daylight, now family members say its time to stop the violence. The shooting happened about 5 pm in the 1200-block of North Union Street. As WCIA-3's Amanda Porterfield found, the bullet wasnt meant for her.

Witnesses say the victim was standing near a crowd of people arguing. That's when they say someone came from across the street and started shooting. Now a memorial lies where the girl died.

Police say the bullet hit Junisha Cummings in the head. She was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. Now, family members returned to the scene where it happened.

Cumming's aunt had been with her just 15 minutes before she was shot. She says she left to pick up her kids and told her niece she would be right back. When she did, Cummings was gone.

"She was a happy, little girl she just loved life. She was keeping herself busy going to church and I just can't believe she's gone. She's only 15-years old. Somebody has to do something about this violence that's right here on this corner," Seneca Williams said.

Neighbors say there's a war going on between two sets of teens which has caused a lot of violence on this street. No suspects have been arrested.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers. You can remain anonymous and may earn a cash reward.

Decatur & Macon County Crime Stoppers
(217) 423 - TIPS
Text: DPD333 + info to CRIMES (274637)
Original: 8:00 pm, 11/13/13, Wednesday
DECATUR -- Police say a female teen was shot in the head in the 1200-block of North Union about 5 pm. Authorities say she has been pronounced dead.

We have a crew en route and will update this story as more information becomes available.

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