Home / US / This 7-year-old St. Louis Child is the seventh child to die of gun violence in the city this year

This 7-year-old St. Louis Child is the seventh child to die of gun violence in the city this year

The latest victim is Xavier Usanga, just 7 years old, who was shot and killed Monday while he and his sisters were playing in the garden of their home in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood, police say. One person was taken into custody Wednesday in connection with the shooting, police say.
Xavier, Dawn Usanga's youngest child, was about to start second grade at Clay Elementary the following day, his mother told CNN affiliated KTVI. Her only son's enlightened smile will be missing.

"He hit a lot of people in the community. He was a really good little boy," his mother said through her tears.

Two men shot at each other in the street as her child became another of the city's innocent victims of gun violence, she explained. "The bullet went through my son's neck and then grazed my daughter's elbow," Usanga told KTVI.

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An 18-year-old was also critically injured during the summer night gun, according to Major Mary Warnecke, assistant commissioner of investigation services for the St. Louis Metro Police Department.

Warnecke did not hide her anger when she delivered the message on the streets on Tuesday and held a news conference in Xavier's neighborhood. She said four children under the age of 10 have died in the area alone this year and noted that other questionable deaths are still under investigation, so the number may be even higher.

"Been doing this a long time and there is a line that used to be – you don't hurt a child," she said. "And that line has been crossed too many times. And I know that people have information and that they are not coming. It is shocking."

Children dying on the streets are "not the norm," Warnecke said. "I don't want our region to be desensitized to this."

An undesirable ranking

According to statistics, St. Louis is currently US "murder capital". Located on Missouri's west bank of the Mississippi River, Midwestern city has led the nation from 2014 to 2017 with the highest proportion of homicides in the big city, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Statistics.

2017 (FBI's most recent statistics year) had St. Louis 66.1 murders per 100,000 people. By comparison, the overall nationwide statistic was 5.3 homicides per 100,000 people in 2017, according to the FBI.

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told once again of the latest crime statistics published of St. Louis Police Department. The rate of homicide and assault has increased in the first seven months of 2019 in the city, compared to the same period 2018.

Homicides in St. Louis year number 114 so far, compared with 105 at the same time last year – an increase of 8.6%. An increase of 6.4% in aggravated assault also occurred during the same period: 2,327 weapons, knives and other abuses occurred this year compared to 2,188 last year. Rape, including rape, decreased by 22.7% from last year in the first seven months of 2019.

Overall, however, the St. Louis Police Department reports that overall personal crime has increased by 3.6% so far this year.

Not just one statistic

The number is meaningless for the mother of a child who has been killed. Dawn Usanga wants the person responsible for Xavier's death to be brought to justice, she told KTVI.

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Clay Elementary School students brought a letter Tuesday evening to inform their parents about Xavier's death. St. Louis Public School spokeswoman Meredith Pierce told CNN that a crisis team was at the school.

"A crisis team is sent to a school when a tragedy occurs. The team provides services to students, staff and family. The team consists of counselors, social workers and nurses," Pierce said. "Unfortunately, we have had a violent summer."

President of St. Louis & # 39; s Chairman Lewis Reed said in a statement the day after Xavier's death that he would draw up a "local ordinance on gun purchases" in the city.

"Today another family in St. Louis city woke up to face the reality that they will need to plan a funeral for their child … I am upset that we are still holding on to the same old ways that no longer work to address the crime issues, " tweeted Reed .

Warnecke also blames violence for the recent murders, but her focus is currently on Xavier's death.

"It's a small neighborhood. People know each other. They know who's coming and going, more than we do. I know people know who shot and murdered these kids. I actually know people know who's responsible and we are not getting the calls we need. We are not getting people knocking and demanding that we arrest these people, "she said.

While it's clear Xavier "was murdered in front of his siblings … happened," Warnecke said.

When asked if the children should not have been out of the city curfew, Warnecke reacted angrily: "None of these children are to blame. We can enforce a curfew and one is in place but the children are not to blame." Instead, society must increase. , she said. "I'm sorry that we haven't had the cooperation and information we need."

Correction: An earlier version of this article indicated that there have been seven children killed by guns in St. Louis since June. This issue is for the entire 2019. This story has been updated to clarify that the seven deaths occurred in the city of St. Louis.

CNN's Chuck Johnston contributed to this report.

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