Jonylah Watkins Funeral: Slain 6-Month-Old Mourned In Tuesday Memorial Service

Updated story

Hundreds gathered at a Chicago church Tuesday morning as 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins was laid to rest one week after she was fatally shot on the city's South Side.

Jonylah's March 11 shooting death has resonated citywide. At the infant's wake on Monday, hundreds of people who did not know the young girl packed into a funeral home to pay their respects to Jonylah and her family, ABC Chicago reports.

Jonylah's funeral began at 11 a.m. at New Beginnings Church, 6620 S. King Drive, less than a mile away from where the child was gunned down. As previously reported, Leak & Sons are donating their funeral services to the family.

"All of us need to apologize to her for not doing our best to make the world a better place," Pastor Marshall Hatch said during the memorial service, according to the Associated Press. "She deserved better."

Jonylah was dressed in pink, laying in a 3-foot-long open casket flanked by floral arrangements spelling out "Mom" and "Dad" for Tuesday's service, according to DNAinfo Chicago.

"Jonylah, affectionately known as 'Smooch,' was loved and adored by many," her funeral program read, according to NBC Chicago. "Jonylah was the apple of her parents' eyes. Jonylah had an infectious smile that continually warmed her mother's heart."

Reporters on the ground tweeted heartbreaking tidbits from Jonylah's funeral program ahead of the service:

Amid the mourning, a police investigation is ongoing to bring the 6-month-old's killer to justice. Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy addressed the media Monday and stated that "there's no doubt in my mind" they will close the case.

McCarthy also set the record straight when it came to earlier inaccuracies that were widely reported concerning the baby's death. According to the Associated Press, Jonylah was shot only once -- not several times -- and Jonylah's mother, Judy Watkins, was never shot while pregnant with the girl.

Jonylah's father, Jonathan Watkins, was also not changing his daughter's diaper at the time of the shooting, contrary to previous reports. According to the Chicago Tribune, the baby was sitting on her father's lap in a parked minivan when a gunman opened fire on them near East 65th Street and South Maryland Avenue last Tuesday.

Jonylah died the next morning in the hospital, while Jonathan Watkins -- the apparent intended target of the shooting -- was released from the hospital last Thursday after he recovered from his gunshot wounds. Police say Jonathan Watkins has gang affiliations in addition to his extensive rap sheet.



Jonylah Watkins