St. Louis shaken after the shooting deaths of at least 12 children since April

St. Louis shaken by shooting deaths

St. Louis — Families in St. Louis have been devastated by a wave of child killings. At least a dozen kids have been killed in the city since this past spring.

Kennedi Powell, 3, was shot in the back in June, while eating a pizza outside her home.

"Every time I look out here on the ground I see her, and it's hard," said Tracy Wafford, Powell's grandmother.

Powell was one of at least 12 children under 17 — six of them less than 11 years old — who've been murdered here since April. It's at least a three-fold increase over all of last year. Journee Thompson was 8 and standing near a high school football game when she was killed last Friday. 

"When all of this clears up I want to take my two youngest kids, and I want to move out of town. I can't be here knowing this is the city that my daughter was murdered in," said Rasheed Thompson, Journee's father.

Mayor Lyda Krewson recently announced a reward of up to $100,000 until September 1 for information on the killings. Krewson said there has since been an increase in tips. Yet there have been no arrests.

"Who shoots in the direction of a 7-year-old or a 10-year-old? So it's so outrageous," Krewson said.

Krewson said St. Louis needs more police officers and tougher gun laws. Other than a felon, anyone in Missouri can walk down the street with a gun — concealed or not — without a permit, because none is required.

"Now the mentality says whoever is with you, they can get it too," said activist James Clarke.

Rasheed Thompson said he hopes the person responsible for his daughter's death comes forward. "If you could take my daughter away from me, be man enough to come forward and say that you did it. You hurt a whole family," he said.

On Tuesday, Missouri Governor Mike Parsons rejected calls for a special legislative session on gun violence. "There are many different opinions on how to find a solution," the governor said, without offering a possible solution of his own.

  • Dean Reynolds
    Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.