Parents of girl shot on playground speak out for first time

Posted at 10:45 AM, Jul 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-24 16:33:58-04

"It's hard to look at.  All I see is my daughter laying there," Latisha Slayden said as she walks toward a playground behind her townhome.

The playground doesn't hold happy memories for Slayden's family anymore.  It's just the opposite.

"A hellhole," Shawn Nelson, Latisha's partner, described. 

"She laid right there suffering from something she didn't deserve at all." 

Their eight-year-old daughter, Tishawn, was shot in the head the afternoon of June 25 as she played at the Blue Valley Court townhome complex.

Slayden says Tishawn was never at the playground without a parent, but that day they had family over at the house.

"That day I was cooking Sunday meal. We heard a 'pop' and kids came running in the house, and my daughter was laying there on the ground," Slayden said.

She described jumping off the porch and running to where Tishawn was laying n the wood chips next to a blue slide.  Slayden put pressure on Tishawn's head, trying to stop the bleeding. Kids surrounded Latisha as she yelled for everyone to back up.  Someone called 911. 

"I'm talking to her, Tishawn, fight, fight. She's moving her arm, moving her legs," Slayden said.  Tishawn didn't say a word.

It was a blur.  Slayden remembers pacing the hospital halls as Tishawn underwent surgery and finally getting the news she made it through. 

"I know and God knows that His hands was on her along with those doctors," Slayden said.

After waking up, the first thing Tishawn said was how hungry she was. 

"That's when she asked for chicken," Slayden laughed.  "My baby, she's spunky, feisty, fierce."

Tishawn will recover, but it'll be far away from 23rd and Wheeling.  The family is moving - leaving behind the violence, and the person responsible for pulling the trigger.

Nelson says the area is full of violence and crime, an environment that could have killed their daughter.  

Her parents said there's a good chance Tishawn will be able to tell investigators who shot her. 

The day of the incident, police said another child shot Tishawn, and neighbors told the same thing to 41 Action News.  Any other information has been withheld, such as where the child got the gun and who will be charged.  The Jackson County prosecutor's office is handling the investigation but said they haven't submitted charges yet.

Tishawn's family can't comment on the investigation, but say irresponsibility and carelessness caused this.

"A child should have no knowledge if there's a gun in the house. I don't care where you live," Nelson said.

"Put the guns down, watch your kids, secure the guns. It just doesn't make no sense for this to happen to our child. Maybe it could be your child," Slayden said.

As they wait for justice, they see Tishawn making small improvements every day. She knows where she's at, what the family did that day, what they ate. 

The bullet entered the right side of her head, rendering her left side motionless. She recently got feeling back in that side, and rehab will help her be able to move again. 

Tishawn will be wheelchair-bound for a while, but her family is convinced it's just a setback.

Nelson has a message for the community. 

"That happening to her, it's time for it to end. Someone needs to step up and clean up."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Tishawn's family pay for medical bills.