ZION, Ill. (WGN) — An Illinois family is devastated after a 23-year-old mother was killed by a stray bullet while reading her baby daughter a Bible story.
Melanie Yates died Monday after officers responded to a home in the 2800 block of Enoch Avenue in Zion, Illinois, at around 9 p.m. Sunday.
As police and the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force continue to search for the suspect(s) responsible, Yates’ family is coming forward for the first time.
“The girls aren’t going to know their mom anymore, they’re just going to have a memory,” Yates’ mother, Lam Calderon, said.
Yates was struck in the head following an exchange of gunfire outside of her home. She leaves behind her husband, David, and daughters, Lydia and Evelyn.
“She was with her baby reading a Bible story to her 7-month-old and praying with her,” her father Shawn Calderon said. “You can see we’re struggling with them being traumatized.”
She was rushed to a local emergency room fighting for her life as her family said goodbye.
“So the ambulance picked her up and took her. She died on the way. But they resuscitated her and took her to Vista,” her father said.
After she was removed from life support, her heart was still beating for a time.
“And she was so strong for 15 minutes, her heartbeat, and we held her in our arms,” the family said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Zion police at 847-872-8000 or leave an anonymous tip with Lake County CrimeStoppers at 847-662-2222.
An online fundraiser for the family has raised over $40,000.