Residents concerned after 12-year-old hit in Benton Township sho - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Residents concerned after 12-year-old hit in Benton Township shooting

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The 12-year-old was shot on the 1000 block of Harbor Ct. in Benton Harbor The 12-year-old was shot on the 1000 block of Harbor Ct. in Benton Harbor
A 12-year-old girl is continuing to recover after she was shot Friday afternoon in 1000 block of Harbor Ct. in Benton Township.

Benton Charter Township Police say two men were fighting and fired shots. The 12-year-old, who police say wasn't directly involved, was hit in the hip during the incident. Two men, Jakeeme Griffin and Juan Hassel, Jr., both of Benton Harbor, were arrested and are facing firearms charges.

Candylaries Watkins is the mother of Juan Hassel Jr. and admits her son was involved. "He did have a gun and took one shot," Watkins said.  "If he didn't take that shot my son, his cousin PJ and the little girl would have been probably dead."

The 12-year-old girl is at Lakland hospital and police say she is in stable condition. "Being a mother I want to apologize to the family of the little girl that did get shot. Also my son even said that he apologizes," Watkins said. "He's not for sure if he shot the girl."

This is a second recent incident where a child was shot in our area. 2-year-old John Swoveland Jr. was hit and killed in an incident in South Bend. These events are hard for Benton Harbor residents to hear. "I get choked up even thinking about it. It's really messed up. There should be no reason why children are getting shot," Benton Harbor resident Nicholas May said. 

Tammie Hill is a mother and grandmother. She says the recent violence against children has her fearing for her own grandchildren.
"The kids want to be outside playing but it's not safe because these gang bangers or whatever go around shooting," Hill said. "The bullet doesn't care who it hits."

Hill also says she can't imagine what parents of children caught in the crossfire must go through. "I know it would be hard on me of someone came to my door and told me my grandson or grand daughter is not here anymore because they were out there playing," Hill said.

Detective Brian Smit of the Benton Charter Township Police Department says the investigation is ongoing. He also says the name of the 12-year-old girl will not be released at this time.

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