MICHIGAN CITY – Kamilion “Milly” Jenkins would have turned 18 on Saturday, but she was killed when an unidentified gunman opened fire on the car in which she was riding in Michigan City on March 28, 2017.
But that didn’t stop her family and friends from throwing her a birthday party – complete with a barbecue, basketball, Double Dutch, dancing, relay races, giveaways, a balloon release and anti-violence rally – at Pullman Park on Saturday.
It was exactly the kind of party Milly would have wanted, said Ruth Banks, her maternal grandmother.
“Milly was a wonderful kid,” Banks said. “She was educated; she was peaceful. She loved babies; she loved kids. She loved to sing; she loved to dance. She kept everyone laughing. She was just a wonderful child.
“I loved her very much. I wish somebody would come forward and tell us the truth. It would bring a closure to all of us.”
Milly, a student-athlete at Westville High School, was just 15 when she was killed.
She was one of four passengers riding in a car near the tracks at Grace and Holliday streets in the Eastport neighborhood when she was shot; and she died outside the Michigan City Police station before she could be transported to the hospital.
A 28-year-old woman in the same vehicle was also shot, but recovered from her injury.
“If anybody knows something that they’re not telling, I hope they’ll eventually come forward,” said Shontelle Hogan-Abrons, Milly’s mother. “They don’t know the pain we’re all feeling. But I’m going to keep her alive. I’ll always celebrate her. I want them to remember her.”
Police Chief Mark Swistek confirmed after a march and rally in Milly’s honor on the one-year anniversary of her death in 2018 that the MCPD had a lead on who the suspected shooter might be. However, he said at that time that no one from the community had come forth with corroborating evidence that could warrant an arrest.
Swistek confirmed Sunday that the case remains open and unsolved.
“The last two years of my life have been hell,” said Sierra Richard, Milly’s eldest sister. “Losing Milly took everything. She was the first child I ever saw be born. She was like my daughter. Not having justice breaks my heart.
“I just feel like (police) are not trying hard enough. I feel like there’s excuses and excuses. I feel like they’re misleading us. But even if we got justice, I would still have a hole in my heart.”
As much as Saturday was about celebrating Milly’s life, it was also dubbed a “Stop the Violence Rally.”
In a plea to the community, Milly’s father, Jose Jenkins, said, “Put the guns down. Please, put the guns down. Get in your kids’ lives. Spend time with your kids. Let them know these streets are not where it’s at.”
Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to contact MCPD Detective Cpl. Tim Baker at 219-874-3221, ext. 1075.