*14 killed, 77 injured
President Donald Trump said he is ready to intervene after a huge spike in gun violence marred Independence Day celebrations over the weekend.
In just a few days, 77 people in Chicago were injured and 14 lives were lost, including two children.
Among them was seven-year-old Natalia Wallace, who was shot in the forehead while visiting her grandmother’s home for a 4th of July party, reports metro.co.uk.
She was playing with friends outside the house at around 7pm when three men got out of a car and started opening fire towards the gathering in the Austin neighbourhood. The girl’s great-aunt Shelley Fulton rubbed her back in her last moments.
She told CBS: ‘I jumped the flight of stairs to come downstairs, and I found my baby laying here, and I’ll never be the same. It’s got to stop, this killing. These are innocent kids. She was only seven years old. She’d smile and always tell me, “I love you”.’
Speaking outside Stroger Hospital, her father Nathan Wallace said: ‘For her life to be cut down for no reason, it’s ridiculous.’ Paying tribute on Twitter, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said: ‘Tonight, a 7-year-old girl in Austin joined a list of teenagers and children whose hopes and dreams were ended by the barrel of a gun. We cannot grow numb to this. We are making progress in slowing shootings, but we have to do better, every single one of us.’
Chicago Police Department’s chief of operations Fred Waller said: ‘There were kids riding by on bicycles… enjoying the Fourth of July, as they should have been. On a day when families should be celebrating, having a good time, spending time together, a 7-year-old girl was taken from us.’
In a separate shooting in the Illinois city, a 14-year-old boy and three men were killed after four gunmen targeted a large street gathering just before midnight on Saturday.
More than 20 people were injured in Atlanta, Georgia, while three people lost their lives, including Secoriea Turner, eight, who was shot dead after at least two people opened fire on a car close to the scene of recent anti-racism protests.
As police identified the girl, the city’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for justice during an emotional news conference yesterday with the child’s grief-stricken mother.
The shooting took place near the same Wendy’s restaurant where African American Rayshard Brooks, was killed by police on June 12, leading to officer Garrett Rolfe being charged with murder.
The fast food restaurant was later set on fire by protesters and the area has since become a site for demonstrations against racism and police brutality.
Authorities said Secoriea’s mother, who was also with a friend, attempted to drive through illegally-placed barricades in the area on Saturday night when they were met by a group of armed individuals who opened fire, striking the girl inside.
Her mother rushed her to Atlanta Medical Centre but she did not survive. Police have released a wanted poster with a $10,000 (£7,900) reward for information, declaring they are looking for a person dressed all in black and another in a white T-shirt.
Mayor Bottom said she was told the makeshift barriers were put back up less than an hour before before she was told of the child’s death. She told reporters: ‘An eight-year-old girl was killed last night because her mother was riding down the street. ‘If Secoriea was not safe last night, none of us are safe.The mayor urged anyone with information about the shooting to come forward.’ The girl’s tearful mother Charmaine Turner said: ‘We understand the frustration of Rayshard Brooks, we understand. We ain’t got nothing to do with that, we’re innocent. We didn’t mean no harm, my baby didn’t mean no harm. ‘She ain’t gonna make her ninth birthday, we ain’t doing anything. They say Black Lives Matter. You killed your own, you killed your own this time.’ Davon McNeal, 11, lost his life on Saturday night in Washington DC after a group of five men shot him as he dashed out of his car to get a phone charger from his aunt’s home. Meanwhile in New York 41 people sustained injuries and nine lives were lose over the weekend.
In the past seven days the Big Apple has been hit by an 142% spike in gun violence compared to the same period last year. During a radio interview on Sunday morning, former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly blamed Mayor Bill de Blasio for cutting the force’s budget by $1 billion (£799,110,000) earlier in the week, which he called a ‘direct signal of surrender’.
Trump also ripped into the Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in a tweet condemning the weekend of bloodshed in America.
He added: ‘Shootings up significantly in NYC where people are demanding that @NYGovCuomo & @NYCMayor act now. Federal Government ready, willing and able to help, if asked!’