A 10-year-old Massachusetts girl that was shot earlier this week has died after her grandmother was killed and a sibling was also shot.
According to the Hampden District Attorney, on Monday, at 2:40 p.m., Springfield Police Officers responded to Berkshire Avenue for a report of shots fired. Officers arrived on scene and made entry into the first-floor apartment. They immediately observed an adult male who lived upstairs, later identified as Victor Nieves, 34, of Springfield, deceased on the floor. Officers also found an adult female, later identified as Kim Fairbanks, 52, of Springfield, deceased, alongside a deceased canine.
While conducting the initial search of the home, officers entered a bedroom in the home and located three children, two of whom appeared to be victims of gunshot wounds. All three children were rushed to Baystate Medical Center as officers blocked streets to ensure the ambulance could reach the hospital as soon as possible. The three children are ages 12, 10, and 5. The 10-year-old girl was shot and ultimately air-lifted to Boston Children’s Hospital where she later died. The 12-year-old girl was shot and remains at Baystate Medical Center in stable condition. The five-year-old-boy was determined to be physically unharmed. The three children are siblings. Fairbanks is the grandmother of the three children.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni stated, “I remain deeply saddened by this tragic attack and I am profoundly sorry for these children and their family members. This is unequivocally one on the most heinous and cowardly acts to which I’ve had to bear witness as District Attorney. My heart goes out to the parents of these children and the family and loved ones of Ms. Fairbanks. As investigators, we will do everything we can to support this family as we move forward and close the criminal investigation.”
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno stated that, “as a father of two daughters, there are no words to express my feelings about this tragic loss of life. A brave and bright angel, 10-year-old Aubrianna Lynn, has been taken away all to soon from her family. Let her legacy be a clarion call to all of us to redouble our efforts in her memory to do everything we can to end these senseless acts of violence. May God rest her soul.”
In a GoFundMe fundraiser that has raised over $32,000, Fairbanks was described as “a person that was both tough and caring. Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her loved her for her sense of humor and her take no BS attitude. Kim’s laughter was contagious. Kim was so proud of her children and grandchildren. Kim would go to war for the people she loved, and she died doing so. Kim lives on through all of us, and we will remember her as a hero.”
The fundraiser also credits one of the children for being a hero.
“Michele the oldest grandchild is also a hero. She sprang into action during an event that would freeze a grown man in his tracks. She protected her siblings as best she could. She was also shot and is stable and being treated at a local hospital. No child should ever have to go through what these three children have survived. They lived through a real-life nightmare that no one could have predicted.”
Aubrianna’s mother, who is also the daughter of Fairbanks, posted a statement on social media. She is understandably devastated.
“At 12:56 p.m., my princess Aubrianna Lynn’s heart stopped beating. It was peaceful, she was not in any pain. She was surrounded by her family. My whole heart has been completely ripped out of my chest. It’s shattered. It hurts. The pain I feel is unbearable. You were the lightness to everyone’s darkness. You always were able to put a smile on everyone’s face. My baby. My love. My little Nani. You came into this world fighting and you left this world fighting. There’s nothing I really have to say because I am just so heartbroken, and I am so speechless. I never imagined I would have had to bury one of my children. I love you my fierce girl. You were a warrior.”
The Springfield Police Department’ Homicide Unit, under the direction of Captain Trent Duda, and the Hampden District Attorney’s Murder Unit are investigating. So far, the investigation has revealed that Nieves, who lived in the upstairs apartment of this multi-family home, forcibly entered through his neighbor’s front door and began shooting at the occupants before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide. Fairbanks was the grandmother of the three children.
Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl C. Clapprood stated, “This is an absolute tragedy, and I am praying for this family. In my forty plus years at the Springfield Police Department this is one of the most heart-wrenching incidents I can remember. I am extremely proud of my officers who were the first responders that were able to get these children to Baystate as rapidly as they did. We are holding a debriefing for those officers and will provide any support that we can because most officers won’t have to encounter a scene like that in their entire career.”
According to MassLive, Nieves’s girlfriend stated that he had been binging on cocaine and over-the-counter drugs when his behavior turned bizarre. “He loved those kids. He would do anything for them. He wouldn’t have done that if he was in his right mind.”
This remains an ongoing investigation by the Springfield Police Homicide Unit and the Hampden District Attorney’s Murder Unit.