Vigil for 7-year-old shooting victim sparks calls for action

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ST. LOUIS – There were prayers and calls for action during a vigil held outside the north St. Louis home of 7-year-old Xavier Usanga.

The child was shot and killed in the backyard of his own home Monday in the 3500 block of 14th Street. St. Louis police confirmed a suspect has been arrested Wednesday but charges have not yet been filed.

“I ask you if you ever get free, that you look at what you did and don’t do it no more,” said Mary Norwood, Xavier’s grandmother. She also said she forgave whoever is responsible for her grandson’s death.

Xavier’s toys and his final piece of Sunday school artwork were on display.

3rd Ward Alderman Brandon Bosley knew Xavier well. He said it’s important to let the justice system run its course and determine if the person is custody is the one responsible for Xavier’s death. He said the community should shun anyone who knew the shooter but did not report them to police.

“We don’t want to see you,” said Bosley. “We don’t want you around. We don’t want your friends around if you condone that type of violence. You haven’t come forward and you need to stay the hell out of our community.”

Bosley also encouraged residents to be more involved in reporting crime in their neighborhoods and to be prepared to fight back.

“I’m not saying we need to go out here with guns blazing and when you know something or you’re not sure you go shoot the neighborhood up,” he said. “What I’m saying is when you’ve got one person shooting at a kid, there needs to be 100 people shooting back.”

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner voiced her frustration during the vigil.

“We know about these kids dying, let’s talk about how we can provide some real solutions! Give people mental health, give people a job, give people love!” she said.

Police continue to encourage anyone with information in this case or any other case to come forward.

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