Speaking out for the first time at a press conference yesterday, Jonathan Watkins – father of slain 6-month old Jonylah Watkins – says the tragedy has inspired him to turn his life around.

Watkins was changing his daughter’s diaper in the front seat of his car when a gunman fired upon them; he survived the shooting, but Jonylah’s injuries were fatal.

Jonathan says the tragedy has forced him to reassess and change his lifestyle.

From the Grio:

“I’m working now. I don’t stand on the corners anymore. I go to church now, and I’m just a whole different person now,” Watkins said.

It is suspected that the shooting was in retaliation for an alleged burglary involving Watkins.

With questions swirling around how Jonathan’s poor decisions led to Jonylah’s death, his pastor Corey Brooks attempted to put things into perspective for the press and public.

“Jonathan was a 12-year-old boy without a father, on his own in the streets. There are so many Jonathans that you all don’t even know about. A 9th grade dropout. So you go from being a 12-year-old 9th grade dropout, to having nobody to support you but a life of crime. That’s where all the violence is being produced,” Brooks said. “So until we solve these core issues, it’s going to always be difficult for young Jonathans in our neighborhood, and it’s going to always be violence and it’s going to always be murders, until we solve the core issues. And video games are not the core issue.”

As for Watkins, he said he’s motivated to stay on a productive life path, because “I know my baby’s up there looking down on me.”

Read more at The Grio

It’s a shame that it took something so tragic to inspire positive change in Jonathan Watkins’ life.

But here’s hoping he continues down this road.


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