At least five children between the ages of 6 and 11 were shot dead across the U.S. during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The victims include, Secoriea Turner, an 8-year-old from Atlanta who was sitting in her mother’s car when a gunman opened fire on the vehicle. The shooting occurred not far from the Wendy’s restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was killed last month.
“She was only 8-years-old,” her mother, Charmain Turner said. “We understand the frustration of Rayshard Brooks. We didn’t have anything to do with that. We’re innocent. My baby didn’t mean no harm.”
Royta De’Marco Giles Jr, an 8-year-old from Alabama, was shot and killed in the crossfire when a gun battle broke out inside the Riverchase Galleria mall. The youngster had just finished second grade. Those close to him described Royta as a “smart child, who was a jewel, with big dreams of someday entering the music industry.”
Natalia Wallace, a 7-year-old from Chicago, was shot in the forehead as she played with other children in a yard. Police said a vehicle pulled up near the children before three individuals emerged and began firing in the direction of the group.
Shelly Fulton, Natalia’s aunt, said: “I jumped the flight of stairs to come downstairs and I found my baby lying here, and I’ll never be the same. It’s got to stop, this killing. These are innocent kids. She was only 7 years old.”
Ms Fulton rubbed Natalia’s back in her final moments.
Jace Young, a 6-year-old from San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood, was shot while watching fireworks with his sister at a birthday party. He was rushed to hospital where he later died.
Ayofemi Bryant, the boy’s aunt, told ABC7: “I know he was scared. I know he was scared and I know he was looking for his mom. He was a baby.”
Davon McNeal, an 11-year-old from Washington DC, was visiting family in Southeast Washington when he was shot in the head by a stray bullet. He was running into his aunt’s house to retrieve a phone charger on the way to a community cookout.
Davon’s grandfather, John Ayala later slammed Black Lives Matter for their silence on black-on-black killings, suggesting the movement only cares if cops pull the trigger.
“Everybody’s just saying, they’re tired, tired of shootings in the community,” Ayala said. “Everybody’s running around here like they’re Uzi-toting, dope-sucking psychopathic killing machines.”
“We’re protesting for months, for weeks, saying ‘Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter.’ Black lives matter it seems like, only when a police officer shoots a black person. What about all the black-on-black crime that’s happening in the community?” he added.
Secoriya Williamson, the father of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner who was killed near Wendy’s similarly criticised the movement during a public address.
“They say Black Lives Matter. You killed your own… You killed a child,” he said.