A viewing of the fireworks on Monday turned deadly as a 3-year-old lost his life, and three others were injured.
What We Know:
- Shaquelle Walker Jr. was watching fireworks with his family in Buffalo, NY, when shots were fired, and a bullet hit him in the head. The 3-year-old was taken to Oishei Children’s Hospital and was in critical condition until his passing on Friday. Three men were also shot at the gathering; a 27-year-old and 28-year-old were taken to Erie County Medical Center and are said to be in stable condition. The third male, another 28-year-old, was treated for a graze to the foot and released.
- Maurice Walker, Shaquelle Walker Jr’s grandfather, said he is devasted by the loss of his grandson. He stated that he couldn’t believe Shaquelle was shot in front of his grandmother’s house while his father was cooking. Maurice expressed his heartbreak for his son and stated that he looked up to him as a father and that he didn’t deserve to lose his Shaquelle this way. He spoke on how his grandson could have become somebody in the world, and now the world will miss out on what he could’ve done.
“Him being three you just killed a whole generation! We don’t know what this man could have became. I was probably looking at the next mayor! As much stuff as I talk, I know he was going to do something,” said Maurice.
- Law enforcement arrested Dequan I. Richardson, 22, and Jonay Robinson, 25, Thursday. Officers initially arrested the pair on drug and gun charges, but they are now considered “persons of interest” in the July 4th shooting. During the investigation, officers received a search warrant for the pair’s apartment and found an “illegal pistol, illegal rifle, cocaine, a scale, and diluents.” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn stated that they have not yet determined if the guns found are the ones that were used in the shooting. Buffalo Police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo credits the community for working together with the police and providing tips that pointed them to the suspects.
- Buffalo had 13 shootings over the 4th of July weekend that caused injury to 21 people. Since the start of the year, the city has seen an increase in crime involving guns. During the first six months, there were reported 177 people shot in Buffalo, which according to Buffalo News analysis of police data, is “a 64% increase over the 10-year average of 108.” Rinaldo has increased police presence in spots that typically see gun violence. His department has solved 11% of shootings that have happened this year, per their July 1st report.
- City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown released a statement calling the shooting “senseless” and begged his community members to put the guns down. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also spoke on the number of shootings that occurred in the state over the holiday weekend during a press conference on Tuesday.
Richardson and Robinson both could receive up to 15 years in prison on drug and gun charges alone. Their hearing will take place on July 12th. Shaquelle would have turned four next month.