9-year-old girl struck by gunfire in Minneapolis dies after two-week fight for her life

Courtesy of the family of Trinity Ottoson-Smith. Trinity Ottoson-Smith

The second of three children recently hit by gunfire has died, according to her family. Nine-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith was struck in the head by gunfire on May 15 as she played on a trampoline with friends during a birthday party in North Minneapolis’ Jordan neighborhood.

For two weeks, Ottoson-Smith had been in critical condition at North Memorial Hospital. Family and community members held vigils outside the hospital praying and hoping for her recovery and that of the other shooting victims. But she died of her injuries on Thursday evening.

“God’s got her now,” her father Raishawn Smith wrote on Facebook.

Ottoson-Smith wanted to become a teacher and “loved making Tik Toks, doing art, doing makeup, playing Roblox with her friends, playing with her siblings, going on adventures, riding her bike, playing softball and basketball and doing gymnastics,” according to the family’s GoFundMe page.

It’s been a violent and deeply tragic couple of months, as Ottoson-Smith’s death comes a week after six-year-old Aniya Allen died of a gunshot wound to the head while riding home from McDonald’s with her mother.

Related Story: Six-year-old shooting victim succumbs to her injuries

On April 30, 10-year-old Ladavionne Garrett, Jr. was shot in the head as he sat in the backseat of his parents’ car. He remains in critical condition at North Memorial Hospital.

Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder confirmed Ottoson-Smith’s death at a press briefing Thursday evening. He said she died around 4 pm at the hospital. He also spoke on the spike in violence in the city. “We’re well over double the number of shooting victims that we had last year,” he told reporters. “Our gun violence is off the charts.”

Outside agencies, including the Metro Transit Police, have stepped in to help curb the escalating violence in Minneapolis, especially during the Memorial Weekend.

A combined $30,000 reward—$10,000 for each case—has been established by area businesses for information leading to an arrest in the three shootings. Police say tips have been coming in but no arrests have been made at this time. Anyone with tips is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or go to crimestoppersmn.org.

“No parent should ever have to say goodbye to their child,” tweeted Mayor Jacob Frey. “To feel outrage and sadness for Trinity’s family is to be human. Today, we hold them close in our hearts. Tomorrow, we continue to press the case as a community and work toward accountability, justice, and prevention.”

Minneapolis City Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham also took to Twitter to express his outrage and devastation over wanton violence and the loss of life. “Aniya and Trinity’s lives matter and them dying matters, too. Every person in this city should also be mourning the loss of these little girls. Every person should be outraged. No matter where this violence takes place, we can never let this be normalized.

“We can get the policies right, but we also got to get our hearts right as a city. Someone chose high lethality bullets and to shoot into a backyard full of children. Mothers and their babies are in the crossfire. This violence is wrong. Our city is better than this,” stated Cunningham.

He added, “Minneapolis has now lost two babies—Aniya (6) and Trinity (8)—to gun violence this month. This is beyond devastating. I share in the grief that grips our community on the Northside. Our hearts are with the families who are mourning.”

Several community groups and churches have taken to the streets in an attempt to disrupt and deescalate the violence. A peace walk for the three shooting victims is scheduled for May 30 at 4 pm. Organizers plan to march from 36th & Penn Ave. in North Minneapolis to North Memorial Hospital at 3300 Oakdale Ave., Robbinsdale to honor the young lives lost and call for an end to the violence.

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