11TH BLACK CHILD SINCE JUNE SHOT AND KILLED IN ST. LOUIS
By Erin White
August 14, 2019
Sadly it probably comes at no surprise that around this country, in low-income communities, people of color are disproportionately more at risk for gun violence than their suburban white counterparts. In places like Harlem and St. Louis, locals are reporting terrifying numbers of shootings and fatalities of minors. With racially motivated mass shootings occurring with regularity in this country, it’s twice as scary to consider that Black and brown kids are increasingly the victims of gun violence, regardless of the situation.
Yesterday, Xavier Usanga was supposed to start the second grade. And he would have had he not became the 11th child to be killed by gunfire in St. Louis since June. Standing near a teenager and two other children somewhere on the city’s north side, the 18-year-old in their company was also shot and critically wounded but is now in stable condition. The two additional children were unharmed. And while no arrests have been made in connection to this act of random violence, the community is shaken over what this implies for children who are supposed to be starting school this week. “This little kid would have been starting school this week,” Police Chief John Hayden told reporters at the shooting scene Monday. “He’s not going to be able to do it. And it’s not right.”
To make matters worse, police statistics show that 107 of the city’s 121 victims of gun violence are Black, in a city that is essentially 50 percent Black, 50 percent white. 92 of those 121 crimes remain unsolved. And according to the Associated Press, the victims just seem to be getting younger and younger. “I’m sure that the children are not targeted, but the disregard for a child’s life is there,” said James Clark of Better Family Life, a St. Louis non-profit that seeks to de-escalate gun violence. “We are living in an era where either we’re going to address crime and violence directly, or it will continue to fester.”