At least half a dozen children were shot and killed over the holiday weekend as high levels of violence ravaged some of the United States’ largest cities.
The children’s ages ranged from 6 to 14 as they fell victim to violence in cities from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco, according to the list compiled by CNN. In some cases, the tragedies added to already surging levels of violence from last year to this year.
In Washington, D.C., 11-year-old Davon McNeal was preparing to leave a Fourth of July cookout with his mother when shooting broke out somewhere nearby. A bullet struck the youth football player in the head, killing him, according to The Washington Post.
“We just had a real genuine kid who wanted to get out of the neighborhood. That’s all he said is, ‘I’m gonna make it,’” McNeal’s football coach Kevin McGill said remembering the boy’s dreams of playing in the pros. “These kids’ lives are being robbed over nothing.”
Just under 90 people have been killed in Washington, D.C., this year, a roughly 17% increase over last year. 2019 ended with the most people killed in the city in a decade.
In Atlanta, 8-year-old Secoriea Turner was killed when a group of armed individuals fired at the vehicle she was riding in near the burned-out shell of a Wendy’s restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was killed last month.
“Secoriea Turner was shot and killed last night, and it was not by the hands of police officers,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said. “It was by the hands of a coward, cowards, who are still out and about in our community. This happened … near the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed a few weeks ago.”
More than 30 people were killed on Saturday and Sunday in the city, continuing a wave of violence that has ravaged Atlanta since protests over the death of George Floyd began. The violence intensified after Brooks’ death. Last week, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp called the violence “outrageous & unacceptable,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In Chicago, 7-year-old Natalia Wallace and a 14-year-old boy whose name has not yet been released were victims in two separate shootings over the weekend. Both children were killed while celebrating the July 4th holiday with friends and family, according to ABC News
Wallace was playing with other children in her grandmother’s yard when several men pulled up in a car, stepped out, and opened fire in the direction of the house. One bullet struck Wallace in the forehead, killing her. The unidentified boy was one of four shot and killed at a large family gathering in a west-side Chicago neighborhood.
The number of homicides in Chicago has jumped by about 34%. This June, there were 329 homicides, up year over year from 246 in 2019.
In Hoover, Ala., 8-year-old Royta Giles Jr. was killed in a Friday shooting at a food court on the first floor of the Galleria, the largest mall in the state. One man has been charged in Giles’ death and police are looking for others, according to Birmingham News.
“Our community is heartbroken,” Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis said. “The officers who were on the scene will forever bear the image of an innocent child who died in their arms.”
In San Francisco, a 6-year-old boy was shot and killed in the city’s Bayview neighborhood on Saturday. Another male victim was also shot and hospitalized but suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Senseless violence like this that could so tragically claim the life of a small child is unacceptable in our City, and the San Francisco Police Department stands with the Bayview Hunter’s Point community in its determination to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice,” Chief of Police William Scott said in a statement, according to CNN.
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