St. Louis has been experiencing a mass shooting of its children, just in slow motion. Three children died this week in unrelated events. Eight-year-old Jurnee Thompson was standing with her family waiting in line for food outside an exhibition football game and shot dead. Someone burst into 10-year-old Nyla Banks’ family loft apartment and either shot or stabbed her to death along with her parents. What must that have been like for that little girl? It gets worse.
Little two-year-old Kayden Johnson was the youngest child killed by gun violence along with his mother in late April. Then, police responding to a separate missing persons call, came upon 15-year-old Sentonio Cox shot dead from a gunshot wound.
His mother Roxzyanna Edwards said she searched for her son, because her nephew had awakened her worried. The two boys had been walking home and heard gunfire. The nephew ran for his life, then he realized that his cousin was not with him. CNN reported that Mrs. Edwards said:
‘I found my baby laying face down, shot in the head. It was really dark, but as the sunlight beamed up … God showed me he was right next to me.’
A suspect has been arrested on charges of armed criminal action, unlawful possession of a firearm, and first-degree murder. Joseph Renick, 54, was being held on a $500,000 bond pending his hearing, the circuit attorney’s office reported.
Cox and his cousin were walking home at the time of the shooting. They were cutting across an empty lot, a shortcut the two frequently took. Cox’s body was located nearby. A friend of Cox said that Renick had been holding his weapon on the teen as the young man raised his arms. Then, the man just shot Sentonio Cox in cold blood.
Earlier in the month, seven-year-old Xavier was fatally shot when he was just playing in his backyard with his sisters. That suspect has not been charged according to authorities. A local man was already facing federal charges when he confessed to killing the boy.
Members of the community held a vigil for Cox. His mother urged his teenage friends to mourn him:
‘Do what you need to do to survive. You can die at any time. Don’t take your precious time for granted.’
Better Family Life community outreach director James Clark said, according to CNN:
‘We all feel the hurt and the pain every day of the week.’
Police Chief John Hayden held a press conference at the St. Louis St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters and offered the public a $25,000 reward to anyone with information regarding the shooting at the Soldan High School football exhibition.
Residents held a separate vigil to remember all of the city’s children who had been killed. The names of the boys and girls “flashed across an electronic screen.” Joining with the community, a local lawmakers read the names aloud as they appeared.
Featured image via Matt Johnson Twitter page.
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