PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A New Jersey family took their 12-year-old daughter off life support Monday night, after a stray bullet struck her in the head this past weekend.
Genesis Rincon was shot around 8:40 p.m. Saturday while riding her scooter on Rosa Parks Boulevard with two friends, police said.
The girl was reportedly brain dead, and her family spent Monday at her bedside saying their goodbyes while making arrangements to donate her organs, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.
On Monday night, the family took the girl off life support. A family representative said the decision was made to do so a short time earlier.
“It’s very hard. It’s very hard,” said family member Wendy Rodriguez. “She was a very nice little girl – very gentle; very happy.”
Meanwhile, family, friends and many in the community were devastated.
“They’re hurting, they’re in mourning, but they’re outraged,” said the Rev. Della Fischer, a spokesman for Genesis’ family. “This is senseless.”
“There’s no sorrow on earth that heaven cannot heal,” Fischer added. “And I just remind them that there’s a place better than this.”
Rodriguez told Sloan: “They’re devastated at this point. Maybe they feel that they probably have some hope because they still see the body laying on the bed, but probably within a couple of hours, those hopes is going to be gone.”
The gunman is still at large.
Police have been passing out fliers at the crime scene, asking for the public’s help in solving the crime. The Police Department and mayor’s office are offering a $3,000 reward leading to an arrest in the case.
“If you’re watching … or if you did it, turn yourself in,” Fischer said. “Help this family have some peace.”
The family said they’re planning to donate Genesis’ organs because it would symbolize the kind of person the girl was — someone who, even at a young age, always wanted to help others.
“She was a very nice little girl,” Rodriguez said. “Very gentle. Very happy. So I can say, she was always happy. She was always bringing a smile to the family, to friends.”
The family is planning a candlelight vigil Tuesday night in front of the Paterson Police Department. Family members have also set up a website asking for contributions to help with burial costs.
Genesis had left a family gathering Saturday night to go to a nearby store with another girl and a boy, but the store was closed so they headed back to the event, authorities said.
They were taking turns riding the scooter and were about a block away from the gathering when multiple shots rang out. Police believe the shooter was aiming at someone else when Genesis was hit.
The two other children she was with were not injured.
“You wonder, how could people do things like this?” family friend Renea Simmons said. “She was a child, and for somebody to just ride by and shoot a child.”
Authorities are trying to determine if the shooting is connected to one that happened early Saturday about a block away from where Rincon was struck.
In that shooting, a 26-year-old man was wounded in the leg and underwent surgery.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:
- MTA Orders Expanded Screening For Sleep Apnea
- Nor’easter Downs Trees, Leaves Residents In Dark Around Tri-State Area
- Nor’easter Brings Flooding To Coastal Areas Of NY, NJ
- Man Shot, Killed At Paterson, N.J. Gas Station
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)