MILWAUKEE (WITI) — A 10-year-old girl who was shot while on a playground near N. 28th Street and Clarke Street on Wednesday evening, May 21st, was on life support Thursday morning, May 22nd -- according to family members.
While some family members tell FOX6 News the victim is brain-dead -- other family members remain optimistic she'll pull through.
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office tells FOX6 News if a patient is brain-dead -- they would be immediately notified because the case would become a homicide. The Medical Examiner's Office hasn't been notified as of Thursday, May 22nd.
Milwaukee police have identified one of the two suspects believed to be responsible and police are currently seeking that individual.
Police spent Thursday canvassing the area where the shooting occurred -- hoping someone will be able to provide more information on what happened.
The shooting happened around 7:15 p.m. — on the playground of the Clarke Street School.
The playground is across the street from the victim's home.
Police say their preliminary investigation indicates two individuals were shooting at each other, when the child was caught in the crossfire — and shot.
Neighbors say because of the nice weather — there were a lot of kids out on the playground at the time of the shooting.
Neighbors report hearing anywhere from 10 to 15 gunshots fired.
The 10-year-old girl was taken to Children’s Hospital for treatment of serious injuries.
"She's only 10! Oh my God! All we can do is leave it up to God. And hopefully she pulls through," Brianna Barnes said.
Barnes is the cousin of the 10-year-old shooting victim -- identified by family members as Sierra Guyton.
Barnes says Sierra was playing on the playground next to Clarke Street School when she was shot. She was just a few feet from her home.
Milwaukee police sources tell FOX6 News the little girl was shot in the head.
"I heard the shots and saw the people running out that way. I saw her with her head down. She was shaking," a witness, who wished to remain anonymous, told FOX6 News.
Another cousin of the victim, Erica Edwards says her children were playing on the playground when the shooting happened.
"My kids was in the park at the time it happened. I thought it was firecrackers. I immediately stopped and ran over there. I'm kind of hurt, kind of scared about everything," Edwards said.
Police officers canvassed the area on Thursday -- passing out a photo of one of the suspects.
Officials say while one suspect has been identified -- no one is in custody.
"Them type of people aren't hard to find. They got a clear picture of the dog. He won't be hard to find at all. When they put those pictures out -- it's over with," the witness said.
Dozens in the community have been stopping by the family's home to offer prayers and support.
This, as Sierra's family hopes and prays she will pull through.
"They were just playing! Just playing," Barnes said.
FOX6 News is told Sierra's 12-year-old sister witnessed the shooting -- and has been suffering nightmares.
A community rally is planned for Memorial Day -- at the location of the shooting.
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett didn't mince words when speaking with the media at the shooting scene on Wednesday evening.
“Tonight, two so-called young men felt the need to engage in a shootout without any regard for the lives of children playing nearby,” Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said at the scene on Wednesday evening.
“Sooner or later people enough gotta be enough! It`s not enough to complain about our tactics. It`s not enough to tell us we`re putting too many people in jail. We need you — the community, to help us solve this crime and to tell your young men to put the guns down!” Chief Flynn said.
Chief Flynn says Wednesday evening’s shooting is a case of a child caught in the crossfire — but he says the bigger issue is the chronic gun violence in the city of Milwaukee.
“I need the same Governor and the same state Legislature that found money to help us expand our ShotSpotter, the ShotSpotter that directed us to this location — to pass a law that makes these little monsters afraid to get locked up for possessing a gun. I need felony time for a felony crime of illegally carrying a firearm,” Chief Flynn said.
Mayor Barrett issued the following statement on this shooting:
“The thugs who thought nothing of having a gunfight on a playground need to be locked up for a very, very long time. Right now these gunslingers believe that there are no consequences to walking the streets armed and shooting whenever the mood strikes them. It’s time for the Governor and Legislature to go into special session and pass mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes and to come down hard on those who value life so little.”
Governor Scott Walker says he hopes to see more done during the next Legislative session to get illegal guns out of the hands of criminals.
"We talked about working with the police chief, other law enforcement officials around the state to look at new ways that we can keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals and the chief, as I've talked to in the past, that's been his primary concern," Gov. Scott Walker said.
Milwaukee Common Council President Michael Murphy and Alderman Russell Stamper II have issued the following joint statement on this shooting:
"(Wednesday's) playground shooting that left an innocent 10-year-old girl fighting for her life has rightly outraged Milwaukeeans in all corners of our city, and it has left me offering prayers to her parents and family members.
It is now imperative that the good people of this community who know the perpetrators involved step forward with information so that they can be brought to justice. If the people involved have any good sense whatsoever, I strongly advise them to turn themselves in to Milwaukee police immediately.
What we do not need is “street justice” with more shooting and possibly more bullets striking innocent children and bystanders. The only true justice comes when the community bears witness and is represented by a jury in a court of law.
I ask residents to help get armed individuals off the streets; if you know someone who carries a firearm in your neighborhood, point that person out to police or pass along a name, an address or even a description of the vehicle that person drives.
Please – if you have information – contact Milwaukee police immediately. Let’s get the shooters who recklessly wounded the 10-year-old girl off the streets as soon as possible."
"We as a community must come together to prevent gun violence. It simply cannot be tolerated and allowed to occur. I won’t tolerate it, the police won’t tolerate it, and community residents shouldn’t tolerate it, either.
We need to work against any mindset that says that this activity is in any way acceptable, or that firearms are any part of an answer to resolving conflicts.
My thoughts and prayers are with the family and this little girl, and I pray that she survives.
I ask that the community come together to help find the person responsible for this shooting, which threatens the life of a child. I ask the community to work together to help bring this person to justice, and I ask that we also work together to improve the community and foster hope for the future."
Anyone with information on this shooting incident is asked to contact police at (414) 935-7360.
Milwaukee police said on Thursday, May 22nd, there have been fewer homicides and non-fatal shooting incidents in Milwaukee in 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.
The year-to-date homicide total is 24 for 2014 -- compared with 29 at this point in 2013.
Police say they have investigated 136 non-fatal shootings so far this year -- compared to 140 at this point last year.
Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.