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'Why is this happening to us?'

August 2, 2008 |  7:25 pm

JasmineIt was Wednesday evening, July 23. It was getting cold and Shadonna Kinney had the chills.

She told her 8-year-old daughter, Jasmine Sanders, and her 3-year-old son, who were playing outside, to come inside the three bedroom apartment at 76th and San Pedro streets.

Seconds later, a shot rang out. Jasmine collapsed face down on the stairwell. Kinney ran down, pulled her daughter's arm, flipped her over and saw blood.

"Jasmine, fight baby, fight for your life," Kinney told her daughter as she cradled her. Kinney said Jasmine only took a gasp of air. She carried her upstairs, screaming to neighbors to call 911.

Inside Kinney continued to cradle her daughter. A neighbor told her to lay her flat and to apply pressure on the wound. Shortly after, paramedics took Jasmine to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

In Compton, over the phone, Jasmine's father was told of his daughter's death.  "I dropped the phone, walked over to the couch and threw myself on it," said James Sanders, 27. "I screamed."

Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Family relatives described Jasmine Sanders as an ambitious girl with dreams and goals. She wanted Barack Obama to win the presidency so she could play with his daughters. Her favorite song was by hiphop artist Nas "I can" and she liked dancing to Ciara's "1, 2 Step." She was learning Spanish from her Latino friends and ate carne asada tacos with ketchup, not hot sauce. "She was my shinning star," Kinney, 28, said.

Five days after the shooting, on July 27, the L.A. County District Attorney's office announced the arraignment of a 13-year-old black youth in connection with the shooting. The teen was Jasmine's cousin, whom police said was associated with a gang. "He didn’t know how to handle the gun and hit the 8-year-old girl. He just turned 13. He didn’t have the ability to maneuver the weapon and he hit her,” said LAPD Police Cmdr. Pat Gannon. "Jasmine Sanders is a double tragedy that essentially ended a young girl’s life and changed forever a young boy’s life."

A day after the cousin's arraignment, Sanders sat in the living room of his grandmother's house in Jefferson Park. He said Jasmine was the third family member to have been killed in a shooting within a two week period. Just 10 days earlier, her cousin Kimberly Bonds, 19, was shot and killed outside an apartment complex in Athens. Authorities said Bonds was not the intended target. Then, following Jasmine's death, another cousin, Dominique Anderson, 38, was shot in the head during a fight.   "The family is devastated," said Sheila King, 44, Jasmine's paternal grandmother. "It's horrible. It's not stopping. Why is this happening to us?"

-ruben vives/LAT