She’nyah O’Flynn had been visiting her father in Chicago from Michigan every summer since she was 4. It had become her second home.
“When we come here, it’s nothing but love,” said her aunt, Courtney O’Flynn.
But all of that changed late Thursday when the 12-year-old was struck by a bullet — another innocent victim lost to the city’s gun violence.
She’nyah and a 36-year-old man were outside a gathering in the 4200 block of West Wilcox Street in the West Garfield Park neighborhood when the shooting happened, Chicago police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.
The man heard shots then realized he’d been shot in the leg.
She’nyah, who was related to the man, was shot in her neck and taken to Stroger Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, authorities said. The man’s condition stabilized at Stroger.
She’nyah and the man did not appear to be the target of the shooting, according to police sources. Witnesses saw two males shooting near the scene.
“We weren’t worried about nobody shooting or nothing,” said the girl’s aunt, who lives in Battle Creek, Mich. “We’ve never had to worry about that.”
O’Flynn and She’nyah’s mother, She’Vaughn O’Flynn, raced to Chicago from Michigan after getting the news of the shooting.
“She’s not doing too good,” the aunt said of She’nyah’s mother.
She’nyah had two brothers, the aunt said.
O’Flynn described her niece as smart and “real goofy.”
She attended school in Covert, in southwest Michigan, and would have turned 13 in July, she said.
“This is just like a family member passed tragically,” said Bobbi Morehead, superintendent of the Covert Public School District, which has a total of 400 students.
Morehead said she knew She’nyah personally.
“The sad thing is … we had two kids get shot in a [non-fatal] drive-by on the West Side of Chicago a few months ago when they went to visit family,” Morehead said.
She described She’nyah as a “super kid” who had just completed seventh grade and was involved in many activities, including cheerleading and soccer.
An autopsy Saturday ruled her death a homicide. Area North detectives were investigating.