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Grandmother of Lancaster girl fatally shot: 'Y'all took an innocent baby'

A 3-year-old girl died after being shot at a mobile home park outside Lancaster during what residents described as a gunfight.

Family members said the girl, Jaylen Jackson, was sleeping in the backseat of a car Monday night when she was shot on Athena Road.

The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office released few details. Sheriff Barry Faile said deputies were called to a shooting on Athena Road around 9:40 p.m. Monday. He confirmed that's where a child was shot but declined to release her name.

In a press release issued late Wednesday, the sheriff's office said deputies are looking for a person of interest in this incident, but no further details were available.

The coroner's office identified the victim as Jaylen.

Neighbors said there are often crimes - shootings and drug activity - in the area of the park where the child was shot.

Tuesday afternoon, the girl's grandmother, Arlene Clyburn, visited the trailer park. No one in her family lives in the area where the child was shot, she said.

"They took my grandbaby," she said through tears. "Y'all took an innocent baby."

Clyburn said Jaylen was with her daughter's boyfriend Monday night. After being shot, the girl was taken to a relative's house, and that relative took her to Springs Memorial Hospital in Lancaster.

She was then airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead early Tuesday.

Lancaster County Deputy Coroner Karla Knight Deese said an autopsy will be conducted later this week.

Clyburn said she's in disbelief that she will never again see her granddaughter, who loved to dance. Clyburn saw her granddaughter last weekend.

"The last thing she said to me was, 'Grandma, I love you,'" she said, before collapsing into the arms of the child's grandfather, Patrick Harris.

"What kind of individual puts a child in harm's way?" Harris asked. "Why take a baby to a situation like this?"

Witnesses in the mobile home park said they heard arguing, then one loud shot, followed by several more. It sounded like a gunfight, said Heather McIntyre, who lives a few trailers down from where the shooting happened.

Michael Todd, 23, said he heard a shot that sounded like a firecracker, but the sound was familiar for the area.

"There's been shootouts, drug raids and high-speed chases through here," said Todd, who has lived on Athena Road for about a year. "I wouldn't say this is a safe, quiet place."

McIntyre said Monday's shooting has her and other neighbors thinking about moving.

"There are a lot of people saying it's unsafe here," she said. "A child shouldn't have been involved. Guns shouldn't have been involved, either. If you have a disagreement, settle it with your hands."

This is the second fatal shooting in Lancaster County in a week. Last Monday, Charles Harris Jr., 21, died after being shot on 15th Street. He was driving a car that crashed into a porch of a house.

His 1-year-old son was in the car, but not injured.

A few days later, the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office charged 23-year-old Jonathan Reid with murder.

Clyburn made a plea for those with information about Jaylen's shooting to tell police.

"I have a grieving daughter at home who lost her only daughter," Clyburn said. "If you know anything, please call police."

Anyone with information about the case should call the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office at (803) 283-4136.

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