On June 5, Jaheen Hunter was walking with his father in the Bronx when he was struck in the head by a bullet. It was his fifth birthday. The gunman had been aiming for someone else. The 5-year-old remains in intensive care.
In the following week, at least seven more American children were unintended victims of gun violence. In New Orleans, a 4-year-old boy was wounded when a gunman sprayed a group of family and friends sitting on a porch. In Memphis, a 2-year-old girl was fatally shot when someone opened fire on her mother’s car during a road-rage incident.
Since the start of the year through July 18, at least 150 kids under 13 have been struck by stray bullets, according to an analysis by The Trace of data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, a nonpartisan organization that tracks shootings around the country. Seventeen died. The youngest victim was just three days old.
On May 21, Dequante Hobbs Jr. was playing on his iPad and enjoying a slice of cake in his Louisville, Kentucky, kitchen when a bullet crashed through a window. His mother rushed into the room after a scream, only to find the 7-year-old with a wound to his head. Dequante died at the hospital.
“Holding you in my arms every night, giving you baths, hearing you laugh, holding your hands, I’ll always keep those memories,” his mother wrote in the program for his memorial service. “Now I have an empty soul.”