MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It has been five days since five-year-old Laylah Petersen was gunned down while seated on her grandfather's lap in a home near 58th and Fairmount -- and police still don't have anyone in custody. Milwaukee Alderman Willie Wade is taking action -- knocking on doors in the hopes of getting information that could help police in this case. This, as a family spokesman urges anyone with information to come forward.
Alderman Wade serves District 7, which includes the area of 58th and Fairmount, where the shooting occurred last Thursday evening, November 6th. Wade says he's acting as a liaison, hoping someone who many not wish to talk with police might instead talk with him -- and come forward with a tip.
"I can't remember anyone this young getting killed in my district like this. To have someone that young with such a promising future ahead of them get it cut short is tragic. I want to be as helpful as I can," Alderman Wade said.
Alderman Wade is asking anyone who may have information that could help police apprehend the person(s) who shot and killed Laylah Petersen to contact him. He says at a time when tipsters may be reluctant to contact police, it's critical they speak up.
"A lot of crime that gets solved in the city gets solved through community and police relationships. Probably at least 50% of (homicides) where the critical information came from a tip from a citizen and that's what gave police the information they needed to conduct the case," Alderman Wade said.
Recently, a tip led police to the suspects involved in the shooting death of 10-year-old Sierra Guyton, and one of two taken into custody in that case was eventually convicted of the crime.
"When you have an innocent life that`s taken, the person that has done this needs no protection -- or stop snitching protection. What he needs to do is face trial for murder of an innocent life," community activist Tory Lowe said.
Lowe says his group of community activists is serving as a resource for police in the shooting death of Laylah Petersen.
"Definitely trying to be in that gap -- where we can create some type of communication," Lowe said.
Lowe has partnered with "Citizens for Urban Justice." The group of business owners has put forth a $5,000 reward in the Laylah Petersen case. That is in addition to a $5,000 reward being offered by the ATF. It is hoped that the money will fuel someone to come forward with information that will lead police to a suspect.
"Somebody knows something somewhere, and it's our hope and our prayer that somebody finds the courage to step up and try to give the information to get to the bottom of this," Alderman Wade said.
Alderman Wade says he plans on sending out letters to those who live in the neighborhood where this shooting happened that will include contact information for those who may be able to help police in this case.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for Laylah Petersen's family held a news conference on Tuesday evening, November 11th. During that news conference, he repeated the call for anyone who may have information in this case to please come forward.
"Somebody knows something and needs to come forth with that information," family spokesman Richard Schwoegler said.
For Laylah Petersen's family, it has been five days without their little girl, and five days without any significant leads on her killer.
"(Laylah's parents are) doing as good as being expected. They lost their five-year-old daughter. They're making it through, and it's through the continued prayers of everyone and that continued support and that outpouring of love," Schwoegler said.
As her family members took part in a private visitation on Tuesday, Schwoegler pleaded with the public.
"Whether it`s thinking about the $10,000 reward or this little baby that was killed, they need to come forth. Somebody knows something," Schwoegler said.
Laylah Petersen will be laid to rest on Wednesday, November 12th.
Laylah Petersen’s funeral will be held at Our Lady of Good Hope Church located at 7152 N. 41st Street in Milwaukee. A visitation is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. -- and a mass will be held from 11:00 a.m. to noon.
Following mass, there will be a procession to Holy Cross Catholic Cemeteries on W. Nash Street, where Laylah Petersen will be buried.
Our Lady of Good Hope Church is also accepting gifts of support -- such as stuffed animals, cards, candles, etc. All stuffed animals will be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
A fundraiser will be held for Laylah Petersen on Saturday, November 29th, from 2:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at the Schwabenhof in Menomonee Falls.
An account has been established in Laylah Petersen's honor at GiveForward.com. CLICK HERE to make a donation.
IMPORTANT: Anyone with information in this case should contact the Milwaukee Police Department at (414)935-7360, or ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS. All calls will be kept confidential.
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