At least six children were killed in shootings across the country over the holiday weekend, sparking calls from officials to end the gun violence plaguing their communities.
The children, ages 6 to 14, were all shot and killed while doing everyday things – riding in mom’s car, walking in a mall, and playing in a yard with their cousins.
Secoriea Turner, 8, Atlanta
In Atlanta, eight-year-old Secoriea Turner, was sitting in a car with her mother and another adult when gunshots rang out Saturday night on University Ave SW near I-75/85 Saturday night.
As the driver tried to pull into a parking lot on Pryor Road, near where Rayshard Brooks died at the hands of police, someone opened fire on the vehicle, police said.
Someone had placed illegal barricades in the area, according to police.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms begged anyone with information to come forward, and a $10,000 reward for information in the case has been announced by Crime Stoppers.
“We’re fighting the enemy within when we are shooting each other up in our streets,” the mayor said at a press conference Sunday. “You shot and killed a baby. And it wasn’t one shooter, there was at least two shooters,” she said.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp offered his condolences to Secoriea’s family on Sunday posting on Twitter, “Our hearts absolutely break for this precious life senselessly taken.
Royta De’Marco Giles, 8, Hoover, Alabama
On Friday in Hoover, Alabama, another 8-year-old was shot and killed while in a mall.
Royta De’Marco Giles Jr. was one of four “innocent bystanders caught in the cross fire,” when a gun battle started between a group of men inside the Riverchase Galleria mall, a press release from the Hoover Police Department said.
The young boy had just finished second grade at Jonesboro Elementary School, a statement from Bessemer City Schools said.
“Our hearts are simply broken at the tragic loss of Giles. We are here for the family in every way possible, and we ask that everyone lifts the mother, family, and our school community in your prayers. This is tough,” Bessemer City Schools superintendent, Dr. Autumm Jeter said in a statement to CNN.
Giles was described as a “smart child, who was a jewel, with big dreams of someday entering the music industry,” according to the statement.
A suspect has been arrested on charges, and police have released additional surveillance images of several persons of interest they are seeking in connection to the child’s death.
Davon McNeal, 11, Washington DC
Davon McNeal, 11, was visiting family in Southeast Washington when a group of five men began shooting around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.
His grandfather, John Ayala – who founded the DC chapter of the Guardian Angels and has been fighting against gun violence for many years – said his grandson jumped out of the car to run into his aunt’s house to grab a phone charger.
McNeal’s mother heard the gunshots and saw her son duck to the ground, thinking he was trying to dodge the bullets, Ayala said.
But then she saw her son wasn’t moving and noticed the blood. “She saw he was hit in the head,” said Ayala, who was not there at the time. When he arrived at the hospital, he found out his grandson was dead.
“His mom was just crying, ‘My baby! They took my baby!’” Ayala said.
Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.
“The public’s help is dire in bringing to justice the perpetrators of the horrendous killing of 11-year old Davon McNeal,” the mayor said in a tweet announcing the reward.
Natalia Wallace, 7, Chicago
A group of children were playing in the yard in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood when three suspects exited a light colored vehicle and fired shots at a group gathered outside a home on the 100 block of North Latrobe Ave, police said.
Seven-year-old Natalia Wallace, identified to CNN affiliate WBBM by family members, was shot in the head and transported to Stroger Hospital where she died, Chicago Police told CNN.
Natalia was “sweet, shy, loving, and good at math,” and had just finished first grade, her family told WBBM.
“Kids outside playing, they shouldn’t have to worry about guns and people shooting,” Natalia’s father, Nathan Wallace, told the affiliate.
“Chicago. Austin. You got to be tired of this,” Chief Fred Waller said when speaking with reporters. “Chicago’s heart gets broken again. Austin’s heart gets broken again. You got to be tired of this, because d*** it, I’m tired of this,” Waller said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot called on anyone with information to come forward and said the violence has “happened for far too long,”
“Tonight a 7 year old in Austin joined a list of teenagers and children whose hopes and dreams were ended by the barrel of a gun,” Lightfoot said in a tweet.
“As a city we must wrap our arms around our youth so they understand there’s a future for them that isn’t wrapped up in gun violence.”
In another shooting in Chicago, a 14-year-old was among four killed on July 4.
Six-year-old killed in San Francisco
Police in San Francisco announced Sunday night that they were investigating the “senseless homicide” of a 6-year-old boy from Bayview.
The boy was found suffering from a gunshot wound after police received a call for a shooting around 10:44 p.m. Saturday night, according to a news release from the police department.
A second person was taken to the hospital from the scene and treated for non life-threatening injuries.
No arrests have been made and there was no suspect description available, the release said.
“Senseless violence like this that could so tragically claim the life of a small child is unacceptable in our City, and the San Francisco Police Department stands with the Bayview Hunter’s Point community in its determination to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice,” Chief of Police William Scott said in the release.
Shootings across the US
Children weren’t the only victims of gun violence, as shootings killed some and injured many others in several cities across the US over the holiday weekend.
New York saw at least 44 shooting incidents which affected 63 victims, according to NYPD statistics.
In one incident, two officers were injured when a bullet struck the front windshield of a marked radio patrol vehicle in the Bronx just before midnight July 4, the NYPD said. Both were treated for minor injuries. An NYPD source said it was not known whether the bullet was stray or intentionally fired and they are still trying to identify the shooter.
And in Chicago, 75 people had been shot over the weekend as of early Sunday, 13 of them fatally, according to CNN affiliate WLS.
CNN”s Sharif Paget, Bill Kirkos, Kay Jones, Chuck Johnston, Nicky Robertson, Lauren Koenig and Mary Kay Mallonee contributed to this report.