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Outrage follows toddler’s murder: ‘Everyone in the city should be turning over backwards’

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- People across the Mid-South have been wondering for days who could be so callous as to shoot an innocent toddler.

Laylah Washington died Tuesday night in the hospital.

The crime has sparked outrage in the community.

One woman, who doesn't even know Laylah or her family, is outraged by the violence and went to the scene Wednesday to protest.

"If I'm by myself, I have to be by myself," said Danielle Jones. "I have to let my kids know that when something is wrong, you need to stand up and fight for what is right."

She stood in the sweltering heat for hours with a "Stop the Violence" sign.

"Just tore my heart out," said Jones. "Everyone in the city should be turning over backwards."

Police said Laylah's mother told some guys to stop driving crazy in a parking lot on Winchester Sunday; they followed her and then opened fire. They shot Laylah in the head.

"It is devastating this is happening in our city," said Pastor Marron Thomas.

He and other pastors ask people to stand up and speak out.

"We can't become desensitized and feel it's just someone else that died. It didn't hit our home. We have to step up," he said.

Meanwhile, a stranger stopped to offer Jones support.

"I'm appalled Winchester is just not filled with people," said Marcus Wallce.

Jones said this crime should impact everyone in the city.

"This baby didn't even have a chance to grow. She could've cured cancer," said Jones. "We will never know."

Mayor Jim Strickland is out of the office but sent a statement:

"I am heartbroken that gun violence has claimed the life of Laylah Washington. This only makes me more determined to reduce gun violence. It's why I'm doing everything in my power to bring our police staff back to compliment, and why I lobbied the state legislature so hard for tougher sentencing laws for gun crimes. In the Shelby County DA and U.S. attorney will use the maximum state and federal laws to prosecute violent offenders. I am fed up. I know you're fed up. I will keep working to make Memphis safer."