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After a Minnesota mother-to-be was shot over the weekend, doctors were able to save the child, but the mother ultimately died from her wounds.
Leneesha Helen Columbus, 27, was found seriously injured in south Minneapolis on Sunday night, the Star Tribune reports. Police responded to a report of shots fired at around 9 p.m. that night near E. 37th Street and upon their arrival, found a pregnant woman unresponsive in a vehicle having sustained a gunshot wound, according to the outlet. The woman was rushed to the hospital, where doctors at Hennepin County Medical Center were able to deliver the child, who was placed for further care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, police said. The mother, however, succumbed to her injuries.
Although police did not initially identify the victim, Columbus’ family did. Her uncle, local radio personality Charles M. Dillon, confirmed via Facebook that the victim was his niece, and stated that she worked as a model and publicist for a local company called Dawgy Entertainment, according to the Star Tribune.
Columbus’ death has been classified as a homicide, but no arrests have been made thus far, and no suspects have been named. However, in a statement obtained by Fox 9, Dillon suggested that domestic violence may have been a factor in his niece’s murder.
“This horrendous killing & cowardly act is an example of the pandemic of domestic violence & violence against women. IT HAS TO STOP!” his statement reads. "Quarantine has shown a rise in domestic violence calls. My niece was a beautiful creative soul and she deserved to live. We need to raise these men better. Women & children are sacred.”
Columbus’ newborn is doing fine, Dillon told the station.
A motive for the shooting remains unclear. The Minneapolis Homicide Unit is currently investigating, according to Fox 9. Police have confirmed that after Columbus was taken to the hospital, a second shooting victim, an adult male, admitted himself willingly to the same hospital with injuries that were not severe; the two shootings are related, police said, but the connection there is reportedly still under investigation.
In a statement shared on the Dawgy Entertainment Facebook page, the company wrote that it is “devastated” by Columbus’ killing.
“We want to send apologies and condolences to her immediate family for the situation and outcome,” its statement reads. “Not only was NeeNee our the biggest Dawgy Entertainment fan but, was AND STILL IS one of the biggest supporters we’ve ever had since we’ve been on this side of life.”
Columbus was killed around one block away from the place where George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by police during an arrest on May 25, according to Fox 9. Police told the outlet that, although there has been some recent resistance to any police presence in the area, officers who responded on Sunday were not met with any opposition and were instead assisted by civilians.
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