Ten-year-old Sierra Guyton dies after playground shooting

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by Lane Kimble
by Tiffany Shepherd

MILWAUKEE -- Ten-year-old Sierra Guyton, the little Milwaukee girl most of us never met, but learned her name through tragedy, passed away early Sunday morning.  Community organizer Tracey Dent offered a special prayer at his church.

"Devastation, that's the best way to put it is devastation," Dent said.  "The city had pretty much adopted her."
 
May 21st, Sierra was playing on the Clarke Street School playground near her home.  A gun fight started between several young men nearby and Sierra was hit in the head and leg.  The shooting united her north side community and angered police chief Ed Flynn.

"This is beyond a police problem and believe me, we take responsibility for our part in it," Flynn said hours after the shooting.  "We're going to catch these little skunks.  We're going to put them in jail."

Police arrested two suspects within a week.  Prosecutors charged Sylvester Lewis with reckless injury felonies and Jamey Jackson with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Meanwhile, 10-year-old Sierra clung to life in intensive care at Children's Hospital in Wauwatosa.

"We wouldn't wish this on anyone," Sierra's cousin Dashia Patton said Saturday.  "This is something we never would think would happen to someone in our family."

Late last month Sierra's family took her off life support, but stood by the hope she would pull through.  Then, at 1:35 Sunday morning, Guyton passed away with her family by her side.

"Sierra rallied everybody together," Dent said.  "But now we need to move forward together."

Dent believes Guyton's story gave people a strong drive to stop gun violence in the city. But with the mayor estimating more than 30 children already shot in 2014, Dent hopes Guyton's memory doesn't fade.

"That could be your child," Dent said.  "Remember that.  It could be your child that can get shot and then you'll say to yourself, 'What if I would have done something?'"

The family is currently working on funeral arrangements. A fund has been set up at US Bank.  A vigil is planned for Monday night outside the playground where Sierra was shot.

The district attorney's office says prosecutors will likely amend the suspects' charges this week.

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