Twelve-year-old Makayla Saulter is being hailed a “hero” after she took a bullet to the head to protect her baby niece when their neighbor, Jason Michael Mesich, opened fire last week.
Initially, Makayla and her 29-year-old sister Canisha thought the loud gunshots were just firecrackers—but the reality was much worse.
On August 30th, Jason Mesich killed his wife, Angela Mesich, before targeting Canisha, Makayla, and her 18-month-old niece, Winter. According to their cousin, Anthony Smith, the sisters were busy loading a U-Haul when their caucasian male neighbor opened fire out of nowhere.
Makayla bravely shielded her niece from harm as she suffered a gunshot wound to the head. The warrior of a 12-year-old was found on the ground, nestling the unscathed baby girl in her arms.
Photo Credit/Anthony Smith
“She’s a hero,” said Makayla’s aunt, Reverend Marcia Westbrook, adding that “she was going to protect the baby no matter what. She’s a protector.”
Makayla is currently in critical condition and being treated in the Minneapolis Hennepin County Medical Center.
Her sister Canisha sustained three gunshot wounds in her lower body. She’s in stable condition, but will need to learn how to walk again, especially to care for baby Winter as a single mom.
Authorities have not confirmed if the shooting was motivated by race.
“I don’t know if it was racially motivated, but he wanted to kill my family,” Smith explained to TODAY Parents. “He was standing like 10 feet away, just firing and wouldn’t stop.”
After authorities arrived at the home of the 48-year-old shooter, they found the dead body of his wife Angela laying in the garage.
In relation to the probable cause homicide, police confirmed the shooter said he “hated all children” and that he thought Canisha and Makayla may have seen him kill his wife.
Court documents reflect that Mesich also told investigators that he was arguing with Angela the night he shot her because “he felt they did not have sex often enough.”
After police obtained a search warrant, they found “numerous guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.”
“What happened is senseless,” asserted Bloomington Police Deputy Chief, Mike Hartley. “To target innocent people in their front yard is pure evil.”