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‘A protester shot my sister! Not the police!’ Distraught young woman pleads for justice after protest turns deadly

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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A young woman attending a George Floyd demonstration in Davenport, Iowa, was killed by random gunfire as she was leaving the protest Sunday, one of two fatal shootings in the city over the weekend.

Italia Marie Kelly, 22, was struck by gunfire as she was leaving the demonstration with a friend around midnight Sunday. Police said she was struck in the back and collapsed near a local Walmart, citing an account by her aunt, Amy Hale of Atchison.

Kelly was pronounced dead a short while later at a local hospital, the New York Post reported.

Davenport is a city of 100,000 people located across the Mississippi River from Illinois.

Kelly, who was biracial and went by the last name Impinto, lived nearby. She and a friend who went to the protest left as some elements within the crowd began to get unruly, The Associated Press reported.

The bullet struck her back and shoulder, then passed through her chest, killing her instantly, police said. Hale noted that attempts to revive Kelly on the scene were not successful.

“She was always smiling, always laughing. That’s why it’s so sad that she was taken in such a violent way,” Hale said. “That is not Italia. She was the bright, bubbly big personality in the room.”

“It’s hard, she didn’t deserve this,” her mother, Sharon Kelly, said, according to ABC affiliate WQAD8. She said she got the call about Italia from another daughter who was listening to a police scanner.

“She was here trying to protest peacefully. These idiots just want to take it out of control and bring guns to a situation that don’t need to be here. This needs to stop. It needs to stop now before another mother has to grief like I do, and cry over her baby gone. It’s gotta stop,” she said, crying.

“We need to stop the racism in the city. We need to stop the black and white issue. That’s why she was here, trying to get the message across and it ended her life,” Sharon Kelly added.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident and have asked anyone with any information about the alleged shooter to come forward.

Following Kelly’s death, a young woman identified as her sister, Jasmine Kelly, 19, posted a heart-wrenching video to social media in which she sobbed uncontrollably and repeatedly said the police were not responsible.

**Warning: Language

“My sister is gone and it’s not from a cop … My sister is gone because one of you, a protester, shot my sister. A protester, not the police! Because you guys, I lost my sister. I lost my sister because of you. You! You are so mad at the police that you are hurting everyone else. You’re so mad at the police, you guys killed my sister!” she cried.

“For those who don’t know, it wasn’t the police who shot my sister, it was one of y’all!” the woman sobbed.

The Post reported that dozens of protesters gathered at the North Park Mall earlier Sunday, but later spread out in cars and began to riot, damaging property and firing guns, with some bullets striking an occupied police cruiser.

According to Police Chief Paul Sikorski, at least one of the officers in the cruiser returned fire.

A vehicle sped away from the scene but police gave chase. The vehicle eventually crashed and several people inside were taken into custody.

A second gunshot victim was found nearby but it was not clear if the person was struck by police returning fire.

“All of the things that we responded to throughout the night were acts of violence,” Sikorski told local media.

Jon Dougherty

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