7-year-old dies in 3rd case of gun violence against North Carolina children this week

Mark Price
·2 min read

A 7-year-old boy was shot and killed Wednesday in Hickory, North Carolina — the third time in two days a child under 10 was hit by gunfire in the state.

Investigators say the boy’s death may be the result of road rage that turned deadly.

The other two cases — Wednesday in Shelby and Tuesday in Apex — resulted in children being hospitalized with serious injuries, officials say.

Hickory police identified the 7-year-old as Zakylen Greylen Harris, who died at Catawba Valley Medical Center.

The shooting happened around 11:12 p.m. Wednesday in the 1900 block of Tate Boulevard, a commercial area in southeast Hickory, police said in a release. Hickory is about 55 miles northwest of Charlotte.

Zakylen was in a vehicle with his mom and two brothers, ages 6 and 1, when he was hit by gunfire in “the neck area,” police said.

Police say the shots were fired from “a small dark colored SUV ... with possible multiple occupants.”

The shooting happened after the boy’s mother changed lanes in front of the SUV and unintentionally “cut them off,” police said at a news conference.

“She then heard a female yelling at her from the other vehicle. That vehicle pulled around .... and a shot was fired from the passenger side of that vehicle,” police said.

The boy’s mother told police she saw “someone reached around the female” and fire a single shot. “She saw a muzzle flash and her back (passenger window) glass broke, and she immediately looks back and sees that her son has been shot,” police said.

The vehicle fled the scene “at a high rate of speed,” police said.

Investigators say the boy’s mother did not recognize the suspects and believes it was a “random” act.

North Carolina has seen a spate of children injured or killed by gunfire.

On Tuesday, bullets fired during an argument outside a home in the Cleveland County town of Shelby passed through a wall and struck an 8-month-old girl as she slept, the Charlotte Observer reported. The child was hospitalized with a bullet wound to the back.

On Wednesday, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office said a 4-year-old girl suffered “very serious injuries” when as many as eight shots were fired at a home in the Apex area, The News & Observer reported.

On April 13, a 7-year-old girl died after being hit by gunfire in Gaston County, police said. The shots were fired as her uncle was making a music video, McClatchy News reported.

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