MILWAUKEE -- Tuesday, May 17th would have been Za'layia Jenkins' 10th birthday. Instead, police and city leaders gathered on Tuesday afternoon to announce a $35,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for shooting the girl. Jenkins was pronounced "legally dead/brain dead" on Monday evening, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office.
Later on Tuesday, Jenkins' family and others gathered to celebrate Za'layia's birthday, and pray for the girl they said remains on life support.
They brought balloons to 15th and Meinecke, and wore purple -- Za'layia's favorite color. But at this birthday party, there were no smiles.
"It's hard for me right now. I'm so numb," Destiny Boone, Za'layia's mother said.
On the day Za'layia would have turned 10, instead of laughter and cake, there were pleas for change.
"Somebody I love is hurting right now. And she is hurting bad," Ramona Boone said.
Za'layia's mother was among those leading a march that weaved its way through the neighborhood near where this shooting happened on the evening of May 5th.
Jenkins was playing inside a home in the area when a fight erupted between two groups of armed individuals outside.
Police recovered more than 40 casings at the scene.
Jenkins was in critical condition after the shooting.
"MPD was notified by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office that the hospital had notified them that Za'layia was in a condition of brain death -- essentially, she had expired," MPD Captain Aaron Raap said Tuesday.
The FBI and Attorney Michael Hupy on Tuesday announced separate rewards, totaling $35,000. The hope is that the reward money will encourage tips that can lead authorities to the person(s) responsible for the shooting of Za'layia.
"She had her whole life ahead of her. I don't understand why. I really don't," Destiny Boone said. "I just want whoever did this to my baby to know -- I don't hate you for what you did. I just need you to turn yourself in. I need justice for my baby," Destiny Boone said.
A green Jeep Cherokee is still being sought by police in connection with this shooting.
Captain Raap said investigators believe the person(s) who were in that Jeep Cherokee, caught on surveillance camera near the scene of the shooting on May 5th can lead police to the person(s) responsible for Jenkins' death.
Raap emphasized that this doesn't mean the Cherokee was involved in the shooting. But MPD does believe the person(s) inside that vehicle are key to this investigation.
"If you hear something -- say something. If you've seen something -- say something. There is no higher priority for the (Milwaukee Police) Department than (this case)," Raap said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Milwaukee Police at 414-935-7360.