"This is the new normal. I don't want this to be the new normal in San Antonio, Texas and in Bexar County. It's time for you to engage in hate speech. Hate murder, hate violence, but then do something about it,” District Attorney Nico LaHood said of a drive-by shooting that killed a 4-year-old boy.
“With all due respect to my friends and colleagues behind me, this isn't about gun violence. This is a condition of the heart." LaHood continued.
Police are blaming gang violence for the shooting death of 4-year-old De-Earlvion Whitley on the east side. Neighbors reported at least 50 gunshots coming from a car into a home off Hud Avenue and Gay Boulevard. Now the search is on for the gunman.
But neighbors disagree with police, saying that the shooting was simply a random act of violence that’s tearing their neighborhood apart.
"I was in the house and my daughter and niece they heard the gunshots," said Bernadette Stevenson, who lives down the street.
"This neighborhood has never really been like this the past 13, 14 years. It's only gotten this bad in the past three months," another neighbor said.
"They was loud, like about 50 shots,” Stevenson recalled.
Investigators believe the intended victim is connected to a home on the corner of Hud Avenue and Gay Boulevard. Neighbors said that the 4-year-old and his mother were inside the living room at the time.
"That's over 15 to 20 bullet holes that I just counted right there in the window,” one neighbor noted.
When officers arrived, they found the young boy shot in the head and the boy's mother shot in the leg. The woman was taken to the hospital for treatment while the child died at the scene.
"Me and my neighbor held him in the grass. We didn't let him know what we already knew when we saw the kid,” the neighbor described.
"I was just thinking it could have been my grandbaby, my niece or my nephew," Stevenson said. "My heart goes out to the family."
Pastor Jimmy Robles of Last Chance Ministries is planning a candlelight vigil for Friday evening down the street from the shooting at Copernicus Park that will begin at 6 p.m.
He wants the family to know that they aren't alone.
"We are challenging the people that did this, any gang members or anything that would like to speak, they can contact me as well and we can talk,” Pastor Robles said. “That's someone's child as well, the person who is doing this. Deep down inside, everyone has a heart, and we need to reach them. I'm willing to reach that person, willing to reach that individual.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the boy's family.
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