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Police: Baby Jonylah's diaper was not being changed when she was shot last week

Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Monday that the father of a 6-month-old girl slain last week on the South Side was not changing his daughter's diaper when she was fatally shot, contrary to what police told the news media on the day of the shooting.

Speaking at an unrelated news conference, McCarthy said Jonathan Watkins, the father who was wounded in the gunfire in the Woodlawn neighborhood, is cooperating with investigators but could be more helpful.

"At this point, we think there's a lot more that he can help us with, but he is, in fact, cooperating with the investigation," McCarthy told reporters at a Southwest Side police station. "We think that there's more that he can tell us."

Police believe Jonathan Watkins, a convicted felon with alleged gang ties, was the intended target.

The funeral for Watkins' daughter, Jonylah, is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at New Beginnings Church, 6620 S. King Drive. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m.

McCarthy said Watkins was not changing Jonylah's diaper but instead she was sitting on her father's lap inside a parked minivan near East 65th Street and South Maryland Avenue when a gunman opened fire shortly before 1 p.m. March 11. He fled in a blue conversion van perhaps driven by a second person, police have said.

McCarthy said the baby was shot once, not multiple times as published in some reports. The bullet, though, injured several organs. She died the next morning. Her father suffered wounds to his buttock and left side and was released from Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Thursday.

That same night, Watkins, accompanied by the Rev. Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church, went to a Far South Side police station to speak with investigators.

McCarthy also told reporters Monday that a police car was patrolling near the shooting scene when the shots rang out. He said the officer heard the gunfire and responded immediately.

Police were looking at surveillance video from the area as part of the investigation.

No one has been taken into custody, but McCarthy expressed confidence that the homicide will be solved.

"When this is all said and done ... we are going to close this case," he said. "It's no doubt in my mind."

jgorner@tribune.com

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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