This incredibly sad and tragic story could come straight out of the script of a Hollywood horror movie. Unfortunately for a young Zion, Illinois family, it's a reality.
Melanie Yates, a 23-year-old registered nurse, was hit in the head by a stray bullet last Sunday night at around 9 p.m. while preparing her 7-month-old daughter for bed and reading the baby the Bible and praying with her, media outlets have reported.
Yates was struck in the head after an exchange of gunfire outside her suburban home in Zion. WGN News reported that she was rushed to a local emergency room fighting for her life and was resuscitated along the way, but she eventually succumbed to the head wound early the next day. Yates left behind her husband, Daniel, and her two young daughters, Evelyn and Lydia.
"For my daughter to be shot in the head, she's reading the Bible to her youngest 7-month-old daughter, getting ready for bed," Lam Calderon, Yates' mother, said, "It's unreal."
Yates was a devoted Christ follower, her brother, Stephan, said.
"Everybody who knew Lanie knows she loved Jesus Christ with every fiber of her being," he told Fox 32 Chicago. "There is no doubt whatsoever that she is in heaven at this very moment. But we on earth miss her very dearly."
WGN News reported that she was removed from life support with her heart still beating for a time. "And she was so strong for 15 minutes, her heartbeat, and we held her in our arms," a family member said.
A GoFundMe account for the family has raised over $40,000, WGN reported.
Zion police told WGN News that they collected more than a half dozen shell casings from the street. Their investigation into the shooting continues, but no suspects have been identified.
"We're just asking the public if you feel compelled and saw something, to please reach out," Lam Calderon said.
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