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Boy, 7, dies after being shot on Chicago's Near West Side

Neighbors, mayor appalled after 7-year-old boy is shot, killed outside Chicago building
Neighbors, mayor appalled after 7-year-old boy is shot, killed outside Chicago building 02:33

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A 7-year-old boy died after being shot in a Near West Side apartment complex Tuesday afternoon.

The boy, identified as Jai'mani Amir Rivera, was shot in the chest around 3 p.m., while exiting the building at 2325 W. Jackson Blvd. in the Oakley Square Apartments complex. The scene is located across from Richard T. Crane Medical Prep High School.

Police were called to the scene for shots fired.

Police Supt. Larry Snelling said officers rushed to the scene of the shooting and immediately began applying pressure to the boy's chest. They also rushed him to Stroger Hospital of Cook County in a Chicago Police squad car.

Indeed, officers did everything they could to save Jai'mani. But he was tragically pronounced dead soon after arriving.

Jai'Mani Amir Rivera Legal Help Firm

The apartment complex is gated, and neighbors said the bullet that struck the boy came from outside the gates. Police said the 7-year-old was an unintended target.

"I heard the shots, I ran out, went to the edge, I saw the baby in the back, then I saw his feet," said Oakley Square Apartments resident Ethiopia Jackson.

Residents said the complex is dangerous thanks to gunfire nearby.

"When they see their targets, they shoot," said complex resident Sequnnia Coakley.

Residents of Oakley Square Apartments live in fear for their kids

Longtime residents who live in the apartment complex also said they don't allow their own children to play outside because of the fear of random gun violence.

"It's a shame that I have to keep my child in prison in our home unless we're going somewhere," said resident Rhonda Dyson.

Dyson's daughter, Samirian Dyson, said she is not allowed to play outside there because of the threat of stray bullets.

"I feel like I can't go outside to play with my friends and cousins, because we are all afraid that we might die or get shot," Samirian said.

Snelling said the shooting that killed the youngster speaks to a trend that cannot continue.

"It's unbearable, and unacceptable, for everyone in our city. The random shooting of this 7-year-old is unacceptable. We really have to think about who we are as a society when our kids are being shot in the street," Snelling said. "We've come off a violent weekend. We know when we see the levels of heat that we're seeing right now, there's an uptick in violence—because there are people out at all times of night. Tempers flare. But this is unacceptable. We are losing our children, and we really need to think about the gun violence that's going on in this city, and we all need to step up to try to fight this type of gun violence to save our children."

Snelling said so far this year alone, 127 juveniles have been the victims of gun violence in Chicago, and 17 of them have died.

"Both numbers are significantly down from last year, but still unacceptable. What we need to talk about is how we're going to protect our children. My condolences to mom. My condolences to the parents, to the father, to everyone who is related to this young person—everyone who knows this young person," Snelling said. "Life was snuffed out before he even had the opportunity to live it the way it needed to be lived."

7-year-old boy shot and killed on Chicago's Near West Side 02:39

At a news conference with Snelling outside the hospital, Mayor Brandon Johnson said the gun violence crisis in Chicago is no longer just a matter of tragedy.

"This is about course-correcting ways of life of some individuals in this city that have caused terror, trauma, and torment," the mayor said. "As our detectives and our police department continue to investigate this tragic shooting—the death of this baby—we will hold individuals accountable for the crime, for the torment, and the torture that they have caused in this city. We also have to make sure that we are moving measures, policies, that build better, stronger, and safer communities."

Asked about Samirian Dyson, the little girl who is not allowed to play in the Oakley Square Apartments because of fears of stray bullets, Mayor Johnson also acknowledged that many families have just such a very real fear.

"This is a fear that families have dealt with for decades in this city," said Mayor Johnson. "We all have to get to work and decide what kind of city we ultimately want to be—a city where children get up, and walk, and ride their bikes, and play, or a city that has allowed weapons to come into the city and terrorize us?"

Oakley Square Apartments residents shared the sense of urgency.

"This is ridiculous," said Jackson. "We can't keep living like this." 

Snelling said detectives late Tuesday were canvassing the area and collecting evidence—and were searching for any video footage or other information to identify the shooter.

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