Jun 27, 2012 at 6:32 am
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The mother of a 5-year-old boy killed by a stray bullet in Minneapolis says her son loved to swim and ride his bike.
Nizzel Anthony George was hit Tuesday at his grandmother's house. Relatives say he had stayed overnight so he could go to a swimming pool with family the next day.
His mother, Christina Banks, sobbed as she held a picture of her son at the house Tuesday evening. She waved her hands at a shrine to Nizzel and said it meant nothing to her and she just wanted her baby back.
Family members showed an Associated Press reporter at least four holes inside the house where they said police dug out bullets.
A gunman apparently involved in an ongoing dispute with someone at a Minneapolis home took aim at the house Tuesday and opened fire, killing a young boy who was sleeping on a couch inside, police said.
The shooting comes six months after another child was killed by a stray bullet that entered a house just 20 blocks away. Outraged city officials and community members are calling for an end to the gun violence.
''I'm pissed off. I'm plenty pissed off,'' Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said, growing emotional as he talked about Tuesday's killing at a news conference. The latest victim is believed to be about 5 years old; his name has not been released.
Rybak called it a ''heinous act'' and ''despicable'' and urged community members to channel their outrage into generating tips that can lead to an arrest instead of resorting to more violence.
''Do not protect a person who is using a gun to kill a kid,'' he said.
No arrests had been made as of Tuesday afternoon, but police have been interviewing witnesses.
Police said the house in north Minneapolis was the intended target of the shooting around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. ''We know we have an ongoing dispute. We do not want to see more shootings,'' said Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan, joining the mayor in pleading for peace.
Dolan would not discuss the nature of the dispute, but said authorities are making progress in the case.
Investigators think one person on foot fired about 10 shots at the house. At least one bullet went through a wall and struck the boy, killing him.
''It's extremely tragic when you have these young, innocent kids who are killed as a result of poor choices that are made by older kids and adults that are around them,'' Minneapolis police Inspector Mike Martin said.
Several people were inside the house, including other children, at the time of the shooting.
City Council president Barbara Johnson said she has received complaints before about the house where the shooting happened. Dolan said police have been to the home, which he called a ''busy address,'' in the past but he didn't have details on the number of times.
It's about 20 blocks from the house where 3-year-old Terrell Mayes was killed by a stray bullet six months ago. A bullet came through the wall and hit Terrell in the head as he was on the stairs inside.
Terrell's mother, Marsha Mayes, went to the scene of Tuesday's shooting.
''I got the news this morning, and I felt like it is happening to Terrell all over again,'' she told the Star Tribune. ''Today marks six months for me (since Terrell's shooting), and here I am for another one.''
There have been no arrests in that case.
Police also called on the community's help last summer after a surge inshootings left two boys, 13 and 14, dead and a third injured. Officers at the time stepped up enforcement of curfews and police patrols.
''We have far too much gunplay out there,'' Dolan said, adding that too many young men are deciding to use guns to deal with their disputes.
''I don't have the answers to that, but ... that's what we have to try to stop,'' the police chief said. ''We still have the rest of the summer ahead of us. And we need to, as a community, try to reduce the gun violence with these youth.''
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