Relatives mourn 7-year-old shot dead on Chicago’s Near West Side – NBC Chicago

Family and loved ones of 7-year-old Jai’mani Amir Rivera gathered in his memory Wednesday, a day after he was shot to death outside his home in Chicago’s Near West Side neighborhood.

“I can say he loved Spider-Man and he was going to play soccer with all the boys in August,” said his aunt Daniela, who asked that we not use her last name. “All he talked about was football.”

His family also elaborated on his interest in video games.

“He was really into Fortnite, all he did was play the game on PS5,” she said. “Before that happened to him, he was playing a game, my mother (grandmother) called him for something.”

The young boy was shot to death on the sidewalk near his family’s apartment in Oakley Square on Tuesday afternoon around 3 p.m.

“He told his stepfather not to touch the game. I’ll be right back, please don’t touch the game,” she said. “He never came back.”

Chicago police said they believe the shooting was random. Investigators believe the shots were fired from outside and that Rivera was not the intended target.

“The random shooting of a seven-year-old is unacceptable,” said CPD Supt. said Larry Snelling. “We really need to think about who we are as a society when our children are being shot in the streets.”

People living in the apartment complex are now uniting and calling for more action to protect their community. Residents say they are shocked and traumatized by the ongoing violence that has plagued the area for years.

“We all fear for our lives here,” said one resident. “It’s terrifying. Kids can’t come out and play on a nice day without having to worry about them being shot at or something bad happening to them.”

So far this year, Chicago police have said 127 children and teens under the age of 18 have been shot, 17 of them fatally. Some cases remain unsolved, including those of 5-year-old Reign Ware and 9-year-old Ariana Molina.

“Within the span of three weeks, a five-year-old girl down the street was murdered and now seven-year-old Jai’mani,” Saleshea Peterson, founder of the organization Hug a Child Make a Child, told NBC. Chicago. “We have to do something for our city.”

As residents cry out for more resources and support, they are now making a desperate plea for justice.

“Jai’mani Rivera cannot go unnoticed,” she said. “We have to report the murderer.”

Peterson is organizing a peace march scheduled for Friday at Western and Jackson at 1 p.m.