It is one of the saddest, makes-your-stomach-turn stories in a long time — in Chicago 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins was shot and killed in what police say was a gang-related attempt on the child’s father’s life while he was changing Jonylah’s diaper in a parked minivan. The baby was shot five times in the incident.
Derrick Rose has stepped up and offered to pay for the funeral, reports ABC affiliate WLS in Chicago.
Rose has offered to help pay for Jonylah’s funeral expenses. Others have come forward to donate money to a reward fund to help find the killer. Tuesday night, that reward fund stood at $11,000.
NBCChicago.com confirmed that with a local preacher. Previously, Rose reportedly paid for the funeral of rapper Lil’ Jo Jo, who was shot while riding his bike in Chicago last fall.
While Rose has heard some frustration from Bulls fans that he has not pushed to get back on the court from ACL surgery as his team has stumbled toward the finish line (the Wednesday night loss in Sacramento was ugly), what nobody has ever questioned is Rose’s love of Chicago. He was born and raised there, he has a passionate commitment to the city. He tweeted in the past, during a rash of murders going on in Chicago, how much it pained him to see the city go through that. He tweeted about the Chicago public schools strike.
Paying for Jonylah’s funeral is a small thing, a small gesture. But it’s something he can do to help a city deal with things far more important than basketball.