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"We are in a state of chaos:" 13-year-old killed in shooting wrote award-winning essay on gun violence in Milwaukee

NOW: “We are in a state of chaos:“ 13-year-old killed in shooting wrote award-winning essay on gun violence in Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Public Schools released a statement following the shooting death of 13-year-old Sandra Parks. 

"Milwaukee Public Schools grieves with the family of Sandra Parks, an 8th-grade student at Keefe Avenue School, who was murdered by a stray bullet while in her own home yesterday.

The world has lost a young lady who had a talent for writing and making her friends laugh. She was well-liked by her teachers and classmates. She was loved by her family.

She is the twelfth child attending MPS to die by homicide in 2018. As a community, we must commit ourselves to taking whatever action is necessary to keep our children safe."

Parks was shot and killed in her home at 13th and Hadley Monday night. 

The Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association shared an award-winning essay written by Parks when she was in sixth grade on the topic of gun violence. The essay, titled Our Truth, reads in part, "We are in a state of chaos. In the city in which I live, I hear and see examples of chaos almost everyday. Little children are victims of senseless gun violence."

"The tears are going to come, I know, but I was a teacher for 35 years, and I buried a lot of former students and that's not right. That's not right," said Donelle Johnson, the coordinator of Milwaukee Teacher's Education Association Martin Luther King Jr. Writing contest.

The contest was formed even before MLK Jr. Day was a national holiday. Johnson says she remembers Sandra Parks well, and that she was very talented.

"She was one of the students I selected to be on Kathleen Dunn's radio show... and so I spent some time with her and it was very obvious she was a very articulate young woman," said Johnson. "When I got the call this morning, I went to her essay and it was like it was prophetic... [she was] against gun violence. In her words, 'senseless gun violence.'"

"Sandra wrote a lot of poems, and they were good. She was going to get them published, but she just didn't know how," said her mother, Bernice Parks.

Parks says her daughter wrote about "her feelings, her life, how people treated her, how she wanted things to be."

At a vigil Tuesday night, she announced she would make sure her daughter's writing will be remembered.

"I want to get them published, that's what she wanted and i want to go ahead and do that for her. I'm going to miss my baby. She was a star..." said Parks.

She also urged people to remember her daughter.

"Just don't forget her please. if you find a picture of her on Facebook it's okay to screenshot a picture and put it on your wall."

Milwaukee Police say a 26-year-old Milwaukee man has been taken into custody as a person of interest. 

If you'd like to donate to the GoFundMe, click here



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