(NEW YORK) — A search is ongoing in North Carolina on Tuesday for assailants who shot four mourners, including a 6-year-old child and a teenager, at an outdoor celebration of life service for a homicide victim, according to police.
Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams asked for the public’s help in identifying the suspect or suspects in the shooting, which came during a surge in gun violence in major cities across the nation.
“Six-year-old kids are supposed to be hurt from falling off bicycles, from … tripping and falling, not from gunfire,” an emotional Williams said in a video statement. “Whoever did this, you are a low-down dirty coward, and you shouldn’t be able to look at yourself in the mirror each day.”
The shooting unfolded about 6:40 p.m. Sunday in northwest Wilmington, where a group was holding a celebration of life service at the spot where a 33-year-old man was fatally shot on Jan. 27, Williams said.
“They fired gunfire toward a crowd of people, and the result was four people being struck, including a child,” Williams said.
He said police officers were alerted by a ShotSpotter gunshot detection system, and when they got to the scene they initially found two men suffering from bullet wounds. While on the scene, officers discovered two more people shot, including the 6-year-old child and a 16-year-old boy, Williams said.
The teenager was critically injured, while the other victims sustained non-life-threatening injuries, Williams said.
“It’s important that we get these individuals and we get them in jail,” Williams said.
He asked anyone with knowledge about the shooting or the shooters to contact police, adding that anonymous information can be shared with investigators through the police department’s tip line.
“We are asking for the community’s help in identifying who did this,” Williams said. “This is ridiculous, and this community should be outraged.”
The shooting came as the country is grappling with a rash of high-profile shootings in major cities, including New York where two police officers died after being shot last month when they responded to a domestic call, and in Virginia where two other police officers were fatally shot on Feb. 1 while confronting a gunman at Bridgewater College.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, an online site that tracks shooting across the country, 32 children aged 11 or younger have been shot to death in incidents across the country in this year, and another 75 have been injured.
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.