A 7-year-old Kentucky boy was killed Sunday night when a stray bullet smashed through a window in his home and struck him in the neck.
Dequante Hobbs Jr. was killed as he sat at the kitchen table of his Louisville home, eating a piece of cake and playing on his iPad before bed, a Louisville Metro Police Department spokeswoman said.
Lt. Emily McKinley said during a Monday morning news conference that Dequante was an innocent victim of the “senseless violence" going on in the city.
“If this doesn’t wake anybody up, then I don’t know what will,” McKinley said.
McKinley said that a fight apparently took place just before 8:30 p.m. Sunday at a home behind the one where Dequante lived with his family. One of the people involved in the fight pulled a gun and opened fire.
“They just shot through my window,” Dequante’s mother, Micheshia Norment, told WLKY in Louisville. “It hit my baby in his neck.”
Norment said she performed CPR on her son while awaiting paramedics and was able to find a pulse. An ambulance took him to Norton Children’s Hospital, where the Courier-Journal reported that he died on the operating table.
“I never thought it’d be mine,” Norment told the newspaper.
Norment and Dequante’s aunt, Jackie Partee, said the Wellington Elementary School student was excited for the end of the school year later in the week. He had already picked out what he wanted to wear for his first-grade graduation ceremony.
His mother spent Sunday washing his outfit and laying out his sneakers. The next day, she found herself planning her son’s funeral and trying to figure out how to explain his death to his 3-year-old sister.
“Y’all took something precious from us -- a baby,” Partee told the Courier-Journal. “Y’all took him from us within a blink of an eye.”
Dequante’s extended family is no stranger to tragedy. The boy is the fifth family member 18 or younger to fall victim to homicide in a year.
Two of his cousins, half-brothers Maurice Gordon, 16, and Larry Ordway, 14, were stabbed to death and burned the night of May 21, 2016 -- a year to the day before Dequante’s slaying, the Courier-Journal reported. Another cousin, Troyvonte Hurt, 14, was shot and killed last August in Louisville’s Smoketown neighborhood.
A fourth cousin, Jaylin Hobbs, 18, was shot to death earlier this month.
Dequante’s family planned a balloon launch for Tuesday evening outside their home to celebrate his life and his completion of the first grade. The Courier Journal reported that his school had a crisis team on campus Monday, the third-to-last day before summer break.
People were speaking out against the violence in the city, where Dequante’s slaying was No. 49 for 2017. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin was one of those who spoke out, taking to Facebook Live on Monday to decry the violence taking place across the entire state.
“This has got to end. This kind of insanity is just out of control,” Bevin said. “These kids should have an expectation that they can sit safely in their own home without being killed by random gunfire.”
McKinley said Monday that investigators were working around the clock to find leads in the case, but that no suspects had been identified. She pleaded with anyone who was present at the fight, including the shooter, to come forward.
“Obviously, no one intended for a 7-year-old to be killed,” McKinley said. “But unfortunately, this is where we are today. Last night was absolutely horrible. It was horrible for the family to go through, for our officers to go through, for our detectives to go through.”
Louisville media personalities were also urging the public to come forward in the case.
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