Chief Hayden speaks out after recent shootings involving children

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ST. LOUIS – Another child has been killed; the victim of gun violence in St. Louis.

In the last 48 hours, two children have been killed by guns and a third wounded. St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden said it’s a harsh reality: victims of violence are getting younger and younger.

Hayden said police need help to solve some of the cases and are encouraging the public to come forward. The most recent deadly shooting happening around midnight.

Police have released very few details about this case and have called it “suspicious.”

According to police, 11-year-old Charniha Keys died after being shot in the head inside her home in the 1500 block of N. 20th Street. Neighbors said Keys was playing with a loaded handgun and did not realize a bullet was still in the chamber when she pulled the trigger.

Police would not confirm those details and would not say who the gun belonged too and how long the weapon was in Keys’ possession. They said the investigation was still ongoing.

Just two days ago, 3-year-old Kenndei Powell and three other kids between the ages of 4 and 8 were playing outside in the 4600 block of Michigan Avenue in south St. Louis when gunfire rang out. Seven adults and the children were standing next to a vehicle when a white four-door vehicle drove by and opened fire on the group.

Powell was shot in the chest and died and a 6-year-old girl was shot in the back. The suspects remain at large.

Chief Hayden made a plea for the public to come forward if they have information about the tragedies.

“It’s unfortunate that we are not getting the cooperation from the public that we would hope. Anytime that there are children involved, it’s gut-wrenching for the community and we would really hope that folks would come forward and even if there is a trust gap with the police, all the reason we have some of those challenges at the end of the day, there should be a line drawn in the sand in respect to shooting of toddlers,” Hayden said.

Police encourage anyone with information to contact CrimeStoppers. You can remain anonymous.

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