ST. LOUIS - St. Louis homicide detectives are investigating the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old boy in north St. Louis. An 18-year-old man was also critically wounded in the shooting.
St. Louis police Chief John Hayden became emotional while speaking to reporters about the death of yet another child killed by gunfire. More than a dozen children have been killed by gunfire this summer.
"This little kid would've been starting school this week, and he's not going to be able to do it, and it's not right," said Hayden.
The young victim was identified as Xavior Usanga. The St. Louis Public School District said the boy attended one of its schools. The district will have crisis counselors at the school Tuesday, the first day of the new year.
The 18-year-old victim has not been identified.
Alderman Brandon Bosley said he was a mentor to the child. Bosley said the boy liked to read and had been coloring with his sisters outside the alderman's office Monday morning.
Around 5 p.m. Monday, the boy was playing in the yard with his sisters on the 3500 block of North 11th Street in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood when, according to Bosley, he was shot in the neck. The young girls witnessed the tragic scene.
Hayden said police do not believe this was a drug-related shooting. Police found a gun at the scene.
No word on whether the victims are related or known to each other. Homicide detectives have been called in to investigate.
Candice Israelsen moved to the neighborhood last year. Since then, she said her home has been broken into, and she has heard gunfire multiple times.
"I just wish we could get these guns off the streets and stop before we lose any more of our precious children," said Israelsen.
She was joined by three of her grandchildren. She told Fox 2 she worries about their safety.
"You never know if when you put them on a corner to go to school if they're going to come home at night. It's scary," Israelsen said.
Hayden said with help from the public, this could be a "very solvable case." Anyone with information is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-(TIPS).