On Friday, August 17, 2012, tragedy struck Kimi Jackson and her 7-year-old daughter, Kristyana, as they were leaving their Elkhart, Indiana, home. About 10:30 p.m., after the two of them had attended a high school football game, Kimi pulled into their driveway. Three men with guns suddenly approached them as they made their way to their front porch.
John Jackson was at home with their young son when he heard his wife yelling. He hadn’t gone to the football game with his wife and daughter. He hurried out the front door and was shocked to see three masked men running toward it. The three men seemed startled by his sudden appearance, and they started shooting. John was shot, but he didn’t even realize it because he was focused on getting Kimi and Kristyana to safety.
John arrived at the porch before Kristyana since she had been nearer than Kimi. The men kept firing at him as he grabbed her and made a break for the front door. The men appeared to reconsider entering the house as they fled into the night, sensing that the sound of gunfire and screams was starting to draw attention.
Despite having been shot several times, John was still able to stumbled into the home with Kristyana. He was horrified to see that the young girl had also been shot when he got inside. Kimi was shocked but unharmed when the men arrived; she hadn’t made it to the porch yet. She was shocked to see her husband and daughter’s injuries when she hurried to check on them. Calling 911 in a state of hysterics, she begged for assistance.
A sizable group of neighbors had gathered by the time emergency personnel arrived on the scene. As paramedics made their way through the throng, they soon discovered that Kristyana was critically injured after being shot once in the head. John had three upper body gunshot wounds, but despite his excruciating pain, none of his vital organs had been impacted, so his injuries were not considered life-threatening.
The paramedics raced to Memorial Hospital in South Bend while they worked feverishly to keep Kristyana alive. She was stabilized, but her condition remained very serious. She was given a poor prognosis despite surviving emergency brain surgery that was performed shortly after she arrived at the hospital in an attempt to save her life.
John was also brought to Memorial Hospital, where his three wounds were treated; he was spared surgery. He was obviously still in disbelief over what had happened, and he and Kimi were praying fervently that their daughter would live.
When detectives arrived at the hospital to speak with the parents, neither Kimi nor John knew why they had been singled out by the gunmen. The victims couldn’t have described the men who attacked them because they were wearing masks, but they didn’t think it had been anyone they knew or would have recognized. Their lives had been completely normal up until that Friday night; neither of them had engaged in any activities that would have put them in danger of being the target of such a violent act.
After over ten years of dating, John and Kimi were happy parents to Kristyana and her brother, who was eight months old. Kimi was a hairstylist and John worked in a nearby factory; they primarily spent their free time with their children at home.
Detectives were informed by Kimi that she and Kristyana had attended the Elkhart Memorial High School football game that evening; while John stayed at home with their son, Kimi had taken Kristyana to watch a relative play. Their drive home had been uneventful, and nothing strange had happened at the game. After they arrived home, Kristyana had been the first out of the car; she and her mother were walking towards the porch when three masked men appeared out of nowhere.
At first, investigators weren’t entirely sure what they were dealing with, but they thought it was probably a case of a home invasion gone horribly wrong. It was unclear whether the Jackson house was the specific target of the three men’s crime, or if it was an opportunity crime. It’s possible that they didn’t realize John was inside the house when they saw Kimi and Kristyana coming home and assumed they would be easy targets.
Although Kristyana’s doctors persisted in trying to save her life, it soon became apparent that the bullet had caused permanent damage, and she was deemed brain dead. After giving it some thought, Kristyana’s family was forced to make the devastating decision to remove her from life support. They also decided to donate her organs in an effort to guarantee that their horrible tragedy would lead to something good. They said their final goodbyes to their only daughter two days after she was shot.
The Jacksons’ house was the focus of a gathering of hundreds of neighborhood residents the following day, the majority of whom were in tears. They all thought Kristyana was a sweet, affectionate little girl who always had a smile on her face, so none of them could understand why anyone would have wanted to shoot her. Many of them were concerned that they might be the next victims of a poorly executed home invasion; others were concerned that there were ki*llers on the loose in the neighborhood.
Though they conducted hundreds of interviews over the course of the following few weeks, detectives made little headway on the case. They had no suspects or people of interest, and they had not been able to ascertain the reason behind the shooting. Both the family and the police issued multiple requests for information from the general public, claiming that they knew of someone in the neighborhood who had firsthand knowledge of the perpetrator and pleading with them to come forward. But if anyone knew who the murderers were, they said nothing.
Despite their intense desire to identify the individuals accountable for the defenceless 7-year-old’s death, detectives encountered an impenetrable wall of silence from anyone they thought could have information regarding the crime. As a result, the m*urder investigation has come to a standstill and Kristyana’s kil*lers are still at large.
Like the police, John and Kimi are furious that no one is willing to come forward with information about the case; they feel that there are people in the neighborhood who know exactly who should be in jail for the death of their daughter. They have faith that people with knowledge will ultimately make the right choice and give investigators the information they require to bring Kristyana’s case to justice.
When Kristyana Jackson was ki*lled in 2012, she was only 7 years old. Her passing devastated many of her friends at Mary Daly Elementary School, where she was a devoted young girl with high hopes for the future. She enjoyed swimming, dancing, and reading. She adored her little brother and had been overjoyed to become a big sister. Her life was taken in a senseless tragedy, and the people who ki*lled her have never been prosecuted. Please contact Crime Stoppers at 574-342-7867 or the Elkhart Police Department at 574-295-7070 if you have any information regarding Kristyana’s m*urder. A reward is given for information that results in the apprehension of Kristyana’s mur*derers.