EAST ST. LOUIS – The heartbroken grandmother of a three-year-old girl who was shot and killed in East St. Louis spoke to Fox 2 about a new $5,000 reward in the case and mostly about that beautiful little girl.
Calyia Stringer was an unintended victim in a long-distance shootout around 9:30 Sunday night in the Roosevelt Homes housing complex. She died at a hospital two days later.
Illinois State Police are asking for help in finding her killer.
“She was precious little girl, she was. She was so sweet,” said her grandmother, Harriett Stringer.
“Every time she came over here, she’d come upstairs (to my room). When I’m laying down in bed, she’ll come upstairs. She’ll get on me and she’ll be like, ‘hey granny, hey my granny!’ “
Calyia was upstairs in her granny’s room Sunday night as granny cleared off the outdoor grill. The gunfire started just after Harriett Stringer went back into the home.
“Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, like that,” she said. “That’s when they ducked down on the floor. I ducked down, too. I was going to go upstairs. That’s when my son hollered down the stairs, ‘ya’ll call 911!’ ”
A bullet hit her granddaughter in the head. Her granny wished she could trade places with her son or his little girl.
“I’m trying my best to hold him. I wish that was me in that room … I really do,” she said.
Witnesses say gunfire was coming from both directions. Bullets were coming from a black car parked on one side of the Stringer home and a group of people on the other side, about the length of a football away, according to Calyia’s great uncle, Ernest Moore. It was dark.
A single bullet came through the exterior wall of the bedroom where Calyia was.
All of the suspects fled.
Illinois State Police and Calyia’s family are urging anyone with information to come forward for the reward and above all for Calyia and her heartbroken parents.
“There’s nobody had to do that to her,” Harriett Stringer said, crying.
“I wish they’d go to jail. I wish they’d go to jail and do some time and think about what they did to this little baby. She didn’t deserve that. She didn’t!”
Anyone with information or tips leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS. You can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a $5,000 cash reward.