Rockford, Illinois News

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara responds to fatal shooting of 3-year-old boy

ROCKFORD — Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara took some time Thursday during a COVID-19 press update to address the shooting death of a 3-year-old boy.

“The last thing I did at my house today was kiss my 3-year-old Maliki John goodbye. My heart goes out to that entire family,” the mayor said. “I can’t understand the ludicrous behavior going on in our city right now. I understand we have a couple of gang’s that are fighting and they account for a majority of the homicides.”

Police responded to 800 block of North Court Street at approximately 11:30 a.m., and located the child suffering from a gunshot wound inside a four-unit apartment building. The boy died at a local hospital. His death was the city’s 26th homicide of the year.

While no suspects have been identified, officials believe the victim was caught in the crossfire between other people. There were several adults in the apartment building when the shooting occurred.

McNamara said there were likely witnesses but he’s not confident they will cooperate with police, a common theme in several of this year’s homicide investigations.

“I hope people will talk, but on far too many of the previous homicides where we know there have been witnesses, more than a dozen witnesses in some cases, and still no one wants to talk,” the mayor said. “That’s not helpful for anyone in our city. And now today, a 3-year-old has lost their life. A 3-year-old should be playing with blocks inside their house feeling safe. A 3-year-old should be playing with little cars and trucks and enjoying their life and not have any worries–shouldn’t know what COVID is, shouldn’t know what any of this craziness is. They should know they are loved and they’re cared for and that they’re in a safe place because they’re in their home. It’s ludicrous.”

No suspects have been named as of Thursday night.

“We will do absolutely every single thing we can in our power to bring this person to justice,” McNamara added. “And I hope the courts do everything they can. Remember, we are one piece of the crime issue that’s going on. We also need to ensure if you’re committing a violent crime in our community that you are held accountable for that violent crime that you committed in our community.”

Anyone with information is urged to call the Rockford Police Department at 815-966-2900 or leave an anonymous tip with Rockford Area Crime Stoppers at 815-963-7867.

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