by Sam Levin
Last week, nine-year-old Tyrese Short was shot in the head while inside a car with his father and family friends, driving home early in the morning. This tragic shooting happened at the intersection of Goodfellow Boulevard and Laura Avenue in the Walnut Park West neighborhood in north St. Louis.
In an unrelated incident over the weekend, cops say, a bullet was reportedly fired into a nearby home into a room where a three-year-old girl was sleeping.
This shooting happened on the 4900 block of Beacon Avenue in the Walnut Park East neighborhood just south of the shooting that killed the young boy.
In both cases, it appears that there have been no arrests -- and there's little information available on possible suspects.
The latest shooting happened somewhere between 8 and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, police say.
A 50-year-old woman told cops that her 3-year-old niece was asleep when an unknown suspect fired a gun shot into the front living-room wall. The aunt says she observed the damage when she woke up.
There were no reported injuries, according to police, who were unable to locate witnesses after conducting a canvass of the area.
It's unclear if this shooting was random.
In the Walnut Park West shooting about four days prior, police believe that the father and another man in the car may have been a target, but the investigation is ongoing.
The death of Tyrese Short prompted Mayor Francis Slay to weigh in on his Facebook page and renew his call for stiffer punishments for gun crimes. He also referenced recent investigative efforts by the feds to confiscate illegal guns and charge repeat offenders in the St. Louis metro area:
Earlier this week, a nine-year-old died from a gunshot wound he suffered while riding a car. Police are still piecing together what happened and why. Whatever the circumstances, it cannot justify a horrible tragedy. But, it should spur all of us to demand change.
Gun violence is a major challenge facing our City and cities all across America.
Even on a forum like Facebook, where all of you affirmatively CHOSE to read my words using the term "friend" to describe our relationship, the mere mention of an effort to stem the tide of illegal guns on our streets draws some angry responses.
I am well past the point of caring about those responses. There are too many guns on our streets, too many illegal guns.
A federal task force has just completed several months of investigations here that resulted in charges, including weapons violations, against more than a hundred local residents, most of whom had previously been convicted of state felonies, some of them several times. Many of these suspects should have been in prison already. Combined, they had already been arrested more than 2,300 times and convicted more than 500 times. And yet, they were in our neighborhoods - armed and dangerous.
I am glad these particular cases are going federal. There will be real consequences for those convicted. But, there should be real consequences in our state court system as well.
Anyone who commits a crime with a gun in St. Louis, even if he doesn't pull the trigger, should get a higher bond after he is arrested, and prison time after he is convicted.
That doesn't always happen now. That's why I'm pushing for an armed offender docket - dedicated judges and trained prosecutors in the state court system in St. Louis.
The police chief agrees. The prosecutor agrees. Our criminologists agree. We now need the agreement of the judges - or of the Missouri General Assembly.
Here's the full incident summary from the Sunday shooting.
Incident: Assault 1st (Shooting) Location: 4900 block of Beacon Date: 07/14/13 0800-1030 Victim #1: 50-year old black female Victim #2: 3-year old black female Suspect(s): Unknown The victim stated while asleep with her 3 year old niece, person(s) unknown fired a gun shot into the north front living room wall. The victim further stated she did not hear the shot; however she observed the damage when she awoke. There were no injuries reported. A canvass of the area was conducted and no witnesses could be located. The investigation is ongoing.