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‘I want my baby’s killers in jail,’ dad says at vigil for 7-year-old Jaslyn Adams

About 75 neighbors, family members and friends gathered in East Garfield Park Wednesday to honor Jaslyn, who was fatally shot Sunday while at a McDonald’s drive-thru with her father.

Flanked by family members and supporters who helped hold him up, Jontae Adams speaks to reporters Wednesday evening during a vigil for his 7-year-old daughter, Jaslyn Adams, outside the girl’s grandmother’s West Side home. Jaslyn was fatally shot Sunday while in line at a McDonald’s drive-thru with her father, Jontae Adams, who suffered one gunshot wound to the back and survived. Jontae Adams was released Tuesday from Stroger Hospital.
Flanked by family members and supporters who helped hold him up, Jontae Adams speaks to reporters Wednesday evening during a vigil for his 7-year-old daughter, Jaslyn Adams, outside the girl’s grandmother’s West Side home. Jaslyn was fatally shot Sunday while in line at a McDonald’s drive-thru with her father, Jontae Adams, who suffered one gunshot wound to the back and survived. Jontae Adams was released Tuesday from Stroger Hospital.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

About 75 neighbors, family members and friends gathered in East Garfield Park Wednesday evening to honor the life of 7-year-old Jaslyn Adams, who was fatally shot Sunday as she and her father were getting food at a McDonald’s drive-thru.

Pink spray paint covered the sidewalks and brick wall with messages, like “I love you, Pinky” — Jaslyn’s nickname. Dozens of pink balloons were taped to the wall.

Jaslyn’s father, Jontae Adams, who was also wounded in the Sunday afternoon shooting, struggled to get out of his car when he arrived at the vigil. His loved ones helped him walk with his crutches before his father stopped him and the two embraced.

“I’m sorry, man,” Adams murmured as he cried on his father’s shoulder.

Jaslyn Adams
Jaslyn Adams
Provided

Adams was released from Stroger Hospital Tuesday after suffering a gunshot wound to the back during the incident.

Adams said the mental and emotional pain of losing his daughter far outweighs his physical pain.

“That’s my baby I just lost,” Adams said. “I got shot. My baby got shot six times.”

Adams didn’t divulge the details of what transpired Sunday, but the final moments with his daughter, he said, have haunted him.

The last thing she said was “Daddy!” in a panicked voice, Adams recalled. “I see my daughter face down in my car. Oh, I will never forget ... I want my daughter’s killers locked up.”

Police said the Sunday afternoon shooting was believed to be gang-related, and less than three hours later, two people were shot in a car at a Popeyes in Humboldt Park, which investigators believe is connected to the McDonald’s shooting.

But Adams doesn’t believe that’s important. He demanded justice for his daughter.

“All these cameras, use them, use them. I want justice for my baby,” he said while surrounded by his family. “ ... I want my baby’s killers in jail.”

A woman at Jaslyn’s mother’s residence declined to comment Wednesday afternoon. In an online fundraiser, titled “Tiktok in Paradise Pinky,” Jaslyn’s mother, Lanesha Walker, thanked people for their support during this difficult time.

“My seven year old daughter ‘Pinky’ was an absolute blessing. I will forever love her and continue the legacy she has left behind,” Walker wrote.

Jaslyn’s paternal grandmother, LaWanda McMullen, pleaded with people who might have information to come forward.

“I know somebody out there knows something. And I wished they come forward, whatever they do know. I know they know something,” McMullen said. “But it’s street code, even though a 7-year-old child was killed, no one wants to talk. But if I know anything, I would let the police know.”

Carolina Gaete, the co-director of Blocks Together, an organization that works to address crime and safety issues on the West Side, said justice for Jaslyn goes beyond just convicting the gunmen responsible for the girl’s death.

“Justice for Jaslyn looks like reinvesting in our communities, preventing another child, like Jaslyn, from being shot. Put money in our after-school programs, bring resources to this community,” said Gaete, who’s helped some of Jaslyn’s friends process their emotions following her untimely death. “... Poverty is one of the biggest contributing factors to violence and if we don’t address that sooner, we don’t reinvest in our communities, we will be here again and again.”