An 8-year-old boy is dead after being shot in the chest while playing in a backyard near the Seventh Street apartment where he lived.
An 8-year-old boy is dead after being shot in the chest by a 9-year-old boy Sunday afternoon in what police said appeared to be an accident.
Police said Taevius L. Coleman was shot while he was playing in a backyard behind the apartment building where he lived in the 1100 block of 20th Avenue.
Coleman and his friend were playing when they found the gun in the backyard, said Greg Lindmark, deputy chief of the Rockford Police Department.
“We’re looking into how they got the weapon,” Lindmark said. “And possibly the last person who possessed it.”
Neighbors said a group of kids were playing outside when they heard a loud noise.
“It was two shots. Boom. Boom,” said Sylvia Slaughter, 16, who lives next door. “I came running out and I saw him lying there behind the dumpster. He had a big hole in his chest.”
Slaughter said the father of the victim came running out.
“He was screaming. ‘My little boy got shot.’ It was devastating,” she said. “I was so scared.”
Slaughter’s stepmother, Michele, said she was worried the incident could cause trouble in the neighborhood.
“I’m getting my kids out of here,” she said. “People are going to be blaming each other and who was supposed to be watching the kids. All kinds of ruckus is going to blow up in this building.
“It’s scary. It could have been anyone’s kids out there. This is just too close to home. My kids are never going to forget seeing that.”
Staff writer Corina Curry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-987-1395.
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