‘I watched my baby die:’ Seeking answers, Sandra Parks’ family mourns on Thanksgiving

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Tatiana Ingram

MILWAUKEE -- Two convicted felons on Wednesday, Nov. 21 were charged in the death of 13-year-old Sandra Parks, who was struck by a stray bullet at her home near 13th and Hopkins on Monday night, Nov. 19. On Thanksgiving, family members of the star student said they want both justice and answers after this senseless crime.

Reciting a poem written by her younger sister Sandra, Tatiana Ingram recalled the knowledge that filled the 13-year-old girl's young mind.

Sandra Parks

"Everybody has a voice that's always silent, but I'm going to speak my mind and rap my rhymes. I didn't realize it until now, but she was old. She had an old soul," said Ingram.

Wise beyond her years, Sandra Parks was an award-winning writer with a bright future.

"I miss her a lot. I can't go anywhere without crying," said Bernice Parks, Sandra's mother.

Bernice Parks said she's consumed by a near-suffocating sadness.

"I watched my baby die. I watched my baby take her last breath," said Bernice Parks.

Isaac Barnes, 26, and Untrell Oden, 27, have been charged in the case. Prosecutors said Barnes was the gunman, and Oden helped Barnes hide his guns.

"She didn't deserve that," said Bernice Parks.

According to prosecutors, Oden told investigators Barnes was shooting an an unknown target as they walked from a store. A criminal complaint said Barnes' ex-girlfriend said on Monday night, she was parked outside her sister's home on 12th Street when Barnes approached, wearing a mask and holding a firearm, telling her "(expletive) you are lucky the kids are in the car. I was gonna fan you down."

Sandra Parks

Isaac Barnes

After the shooting, prosecutors said Barnes was found hiding in a closet near 13th and Locust. Oden was also found at that home. A Century Arms semi-automatic rifle was recovered from a garbage can in the living room, and another Century Arms semi-automatic rifle was found in the bedroom.

"I'm positive I'm not the only one wanting to know why," said Bernice Parks.

The family gathered on Thanksgiving to remember this young life, taken far too soon.

Untrell Oden

"Putting bullets through our chest -- trying to stop us from being the best. I wonder who is next," said Ingram, as she read her late sister's words.

The family was working to finalize funeral arrangements while also trying to come to grips with this sudden loss.

GoFundMe page has been established to help with funeral expenses.

Barnes was charged with one count of first degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon, one count of endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon (discharge firearm into vehicle or building) and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. Oden was charged with two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon.

Online court records show Untrell Oden was convicted of attempted armed robbery, as party to a crime, after pleading guilty in February of 2011. He was sentenced to serve five years in prison and five years extended supervision.

Isaac Barnes was charged with drive or operate vehicle without consent on Nov. 2. He was actually due in court on Monday morning, Nov. 19, but did not show -- and a bench warrant was issued. Sandra Parks was shot and killed hours later.

In July of 2010, he pleaded guilty to a charge of armed robbery with use of force, as party to a crime, and was sentenced to serve two years in prison and five years extended supervision.

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