Girl shot during sleepover on life support

Shooting happened during sleepover in Lackawanna home

JACKSONVIILE, Fla. – A 12-year-old girl shot in the head early Sunday morning during a birthday party sleepover at a home in the city’s Lackawanna neighborhood is on life support at UF Health Jacksonville, the girl's family told News4Jax on Monday.

Family members told News4Jax that Ramya Eunice was showing no brain activity, but doctors said they have not given up on her.

"We still praying," said Ramya's aunt, Harriet McNeal. "The staff’s been incredible, but it’s hard to believe. Very hard."

The shooting happened about 1:45 a.m. inside a home on Willow Branch Avenue, near McDuff Avenue and Beaver Street, where a woman who was hosting the birthday party for eight children.

The woman said Ramya was sleeping when she heard the gunshot. She said an 11-year-old boy found a gun at an unlocked, neighboring home that is currently unoccupied. She said Ramya was lying on a couch sleeping when the boy accidentally shot at her, striking her in the ear and on the left side of the head.

“Please forgive us if you can,” the woman said Sunday. “We can do what we need to do, but we can't change it. It happened. I'm sorry y'all. I'm sorry it happened. We don't know what happened, but it happened.”

Ramya lives a couple houses down the street from where she was shot. Her family was comfortable with her spending the night there.

McNeal described Ramya, who attended Ruth Upson Elementary, as full of life.

"Very fun girl. (She) loved to dance. (She was the) life of the party," McNeal said. 

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office investigators will work with the State Attorney's Office on whether any charges would be filed in this case.

"I think parents need to be more involved with your kids," said Ramya's cousin, Davett Gordon. "If you see a gun don't touch it; tell and adult. That's what I was raised up."

About the Authors:

Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.