A 7-year-old Missouri boy is dead after a shooting — and police are pleading with the public to help identify his killer. On Monday evening, Xavier Usanga was fatally shot while standing next to an 18-year-old who was also shot but survived. During a press conference on Tuesday, St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden announced Xavier’s death and said investigators do not know whether Xavier and the 18-year-old knew each other.
Investigators have no description of the suspect and are having a hard time gathering information from the community.
“This case should be solvable,” Hayden said, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. “This can’t be, ‘I’m afraid to talk to the police.’ I’m hoping people will listen to my plea.”
Xavier was supposed to start his first day of second grade on Tuesday but instead he’s the 11th child in the area to be killed in a shooting since June.
“This is not what you want to do on your first day of school,” Kelvin Adams, superintendent of the St. Louis Public School District, said, according to Post-Dispatch.
“Kids are supposed to look happy, but instead they’re going to be missing one of their friends, one of their classmates. Some don’t even know why yet. They’re going to be looking for this young man, but he won’t show up.
“He’ll be in a body bag in a funeral parlor, and that’s not where a kid is supposed to be, and it’s happening much too often. We just can’t continue like this. It’s incredibly frustrating. Incredibly frustrating.”
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Xavier’s sister, Precious, told the Post-Dispatch the boy was shot whiling trying to run away when the suspect open fired.
“They got down on the ground, but when the shooting stopped, they were going to run toward the house,” she said. “Then they all got up to run to the house, and the shooting started again and that’s when Xavier got hit.”
He was the youngest of six children, she said.
Witnesses told the paper they heard six shots followed by a pause and then another six shots. When police arrived on the scene, they immediately rushed Xavier to the hospital in their SUV.
The Homicide Division makes plea for any information on recent child murders. https://t.co/71Y2daJV9d— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) August 13, 2019
In addition to Xavier’s death, police are also investigating the recent murders of a 10-year-old, a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old.
“I know people know who shot and murdered these children,” Deputy Commander of the Bureau of Investigations Mary Warnecke said Tuesday in a plea to the community. “We are not getting people knocking and demanding we arrest these people. We need the community to call us.”
The 18-year-old is in stable condition. A pistol was recovered at the scene. Police are reviewing security footage in the area and interviewing witnesses but urge anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS.