Children are among the victims of July 4 weekend gun violence across the US

Author: Eliott C. McLaughlin, Susannah Cullinane and Chuck Johnston / CNN and Rich Kolko / WINK News
Published: Updated:

A 7-year-old girl playing with children in Chicago, an 8-year-old Atlanta girl riding with her mother and an 11-year-old boy running to get a phone charger in Washington, DC, were among the victims of gun violence over the July 4 weekend.

The violence comes amid an uptick in shootings and homicides in American cities.

The girl in Chicago was visiting her grandmother in the Austin neighborhood Saturday evening, playing with other children, when a car pulled up and three people got out and opened fire on a group of people, the Chicago Police Department said.

The 7-year-old was shot in the head and died at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Chicago police spokeswoman Jessica Rocco said. A 32-year-old was wounded, she said.

“You got to be tired of this,” CPD Chief of Operations Fred Waller said. “Chicago’s heart gets broken again. Austin’s heart gets broken again. We’ve got to be tired of this because, damn it, I’m tired of this.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, in a series of tweets, lamented another child “whose hopes and dreams were ended by the barrel of a gun.” She asked anyone with information to come forward.

“As a city we must wrap our arms around our youth so they understand there’s a future for them that isn’t wrapped up in gun violence,” she tweeted.

There are no additional details on the suspects, Rocco said.

A separate Chicago shooting left a 14-year-old dead, police said.

Shootings across U.S.

In the nation’s capital, 11-year-old Davon McNeal was killed Saturday night after a group of five young men began shooting in the southeast part of the city, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Metropolitan Police Department said.

Davon was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. The shooting occurred around 9:30 p.m., MPD Chief Peter Newsham said.

Davon was shot in the head moments after he and his mother stopped in a neighborhood to visit, the boy’s grandfather told CNN.

The youngster jumped out of the car to run into his aunt’s house to grab a phone charger, said grandfather John Ayala, who founded the DC chapter of the Guardian Angels and has been fighting gun violence for many years.

His mother, sitting in the car, heard gunshots and saw her son duck. She thought he was trying to dodge the bullets, Ayala said, but then noticed he wasn’t moving and found he’d been shot in the head.

‘Right here in our own backyard’

Ayala raced to the hospital, he said, and “his mom was just crying, ‘My baby! They took my baby!’

“The thing that’s so bad is, we were all supposed to be out of town on a trip,” Ayala said, “but we decided to cancel it because the COVID cases were so bad. He was supposed to be gone — but we canceled the trip to be safe — and he gets shot and killed right here in our own backyard.”

Bowser announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrests of those responsible.

“The public’s help is dire in bringing to justice the perpetrators of the horrendous killing of 11-year old Davon McNeal,” the mayor said in a tweet.

The reason for the shooting is unknown. Five males were seen leaving the scene in a black sedan, Bowser said.

Atlanta shooting

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms also asked people to forward with information after an 8-year-old girl was shot Saturday night near the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed last month.

“I am asking you to please honor this baby’s life. Please, if you know who did this, please turn them in,” Bottoms said at a news conference Sunday.

“We’re fighting the enemy within when we are shooting each other up in our streets,” the mayor said. “You shot and killed a baby, and it wasn’t one shooter. There was at least two shooters,” she said.

Secoriea Turner was riding in a vehicle with her mother and an adult friend downtown, according to police. The driver was attempting to enter a parking lot where a group of people had illegally placed barricades, and someone in the group opened fire on the vehicle, according to police, striking Turner.

Bottoms wants people to have the same passion for ending community violence that they have for police reform, she said.

“We’ve had over 75 shootings in the city over the past several weeks,” Bottoms said. “You can’t blame that on (the Atlanta Police Department).”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp offered his condolences Sunday, posting on Twitter: “Our hearts absolutely break for this precious life senselessly taken. Marty, the girls, and I are praying for the Lord’s comfort over Secoriea’s family and loved ones in the face of this tragedy.”

Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the girl’s killers.

Alabama mall shooting suspect arrested

In Alabama, police arrested a suspect in the shooting death of an 8-year-old at the Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover, south of Birmingham, on Friday, according to the Hoover Police Department.

It’s the same mall where police killed Emantic Bradford Jr. on Thanksgiving night 2018.

Montez Moses Miracle Coleman, 22, of Birmingham was arrested in the death of Royta De’Marco Giles, 8, police said in a news release. He was being held Sunday in the Jefferson County Jail on one charge of murder and three counts of assault, police said.

CNN has not been able to determine whether Coleman has legal representation.

Coleman was taken into custody Friday after officers responded to reports of a man running through a hotel parking deck with a firearm.

Coleman had gotten into an argument with a group of men and they exchanged fire, police said.

Three others who were hurt are believed to have been “innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire,” the release said.

Police are seeking anyone else who may have been involved.

NYPD officers injured

Gun violence also shook New York over the holiday weekend, with at least 34 shooting incidents affecting 51 victims, according to New York Police Department statistics.

In one incident, two officers were injured when a bullet struck the front windshield of a patrol vehicle in the Bronx before midnight Saturday, the NYPD said.

Both were treated for minor injuries. It was unknown whether the bullet was stray or intentionally fired and they are still trying to identify the shooter, an NYPD source said.

Chief Terence Monahan tweeted a photo of the bullet in the windshield saying: “Today, we are extremely fortunate to not be mourning the loss of hero cops in the Bronx — who could’ve been killed last night when their police car was struck by gunfire.”

Teen, three others killed in Englewood

In Chicago, another late Saturday shooting in the South Side neighborhood of Englewood left four people dead, including a teen, and four more people injured. The shooting happened about 11:35 p.m., police said.

The victims were attending a large street gathering when “approximately four males” walked up and began shooting, police said. The suspects fled the scene.

Two people were pronounced dead at the scene, and a third victim who had gunshot wounds to his chest and back died at the University of Chicago Medical Center. A fourth gunshot victim, a 14-year-old, was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, where he later died.

The injured victims, according to police, include:

  • An 11-year-old who was grazed on the leg and ankle. He is in fair condition at Comer.
  • A 15-year-old who was shot in the stomach and is also in fair condition at Comer.
  • A 29-year-old man who was shot in the foot and is in fair condition at St. Bernard Hospital.
  • A 35-year-old who was shot in the hip, leg, arm and wrist. He is in critical condition at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County.

There are no suspects in custody.

Violent weekend in the Chi

According to CNN affiliate WLS, as of early Sunday, 67 people had been shot in Chicago over the weekend, 13 of them fatally.

Chicago often sees more shootings in the summer months, an issue Lightfoot has pledged to address. This is her second summer at the city’s helm. Last weekend, more than 60 people were shot — 14 of them fatally — in 49 shooting incidents in the city.

The Windy City is one of the numerous locales — along with Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and New York — seeing an increase in homicide rates this year.

In the city’s North Lawndale neighborhood early Sunday, someone in a white vehicle opened fire on a group lighting fireworks, WLS reported. Five people were injured, and a 20-year-old woman died at Mount Sinai, police told the station.

Also early Sunday, a 10-year-old suffered a bullet graze wound and a 48-year-old woman suffered gunshot wounds to both legs while standing in the hallway of an apartment building, WLS reported.

Late Saturday, a 15-year-old boy was among three people shot in Little Village on the southwest side of the city, the station reported.

Earlier that day, a half dozen assailants approached a group before dawn, fatally shooting a woman in the head and injuring two men on South Lake Shore Drive, police told WLS.

A 31-year-old man was also fatally shot Saturday morning while sitting in a parked vehicle in Englewood, police told the station.

WINK News Safety and Security Specialist Rich Kolko says there is no single reason for the uptick in shootings, but more cocktail of things: COVID-19, kids being out of school, unemployment being high, political division and less support for law enforcement.

As mentioned above, cities across the country are seeing an increase in gun violence. Kolko said, “In Florida, shootings are up as well.” people were killed in Broward, West Palm. Orland and Pompano and at least 10 people were killed in Jacksonville.

And with the recent calls to ‘defund police’ how these municipalities like Philadelphia, Chicago and Atlanta, protect their most vulnerable populations?

WINK News Safety and Security Specialist  Rich Kolko also contributed to this article.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.