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'It's kind of bad around here': Neighbors share concerns after 12-year-old shot, critically injured in St. Louis

The boy was listed in critical condition at an area hospital.

ST. LOUIS — A 12 year-old boy was shot in the back and critically injured in St. Louis Tuesday night, police said.

According to an incident report from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the boy was shot on the 4300 block of Labadie Avenue at about 9 p.m.

He was conscious and breathing when he was found and taken to an area hospital. In a Wednesday morning update, police said he was in critical, unstable condition, but "death was not imminent."

The boy's father came to the scene at one point but left shortly afterward and refused to cooperate with the investigation, according to police.

Helen Johnson saw the boy's grandmother and sister rushing to his aid immediately after the shooting. 

"He was laying there. I thought something happened to his leg, I didn't know what happened," Johnson said. "The little girl said she thought he was shot. He was conscious. He was talking to his grandmother back and forth."

Johnson said she overheard the grandmother tell him that he shouldn't keep leaving home late at night.

"My grandkids are not allowed out walking the street at night. We know where they are going and with who," she told 5 On Your Side Wednesday. "It's very concerning, not only in my neighborhood but all the neighborhoods for whatever reason. Whatever the reason, it's horrible. I remember being young, if anybody did anything, my neighbors would get me. All the way home from school, we knew each other. I just want these kids to get the parents together and talk to kids."

Neighbors said the boy was shot within eyesight of his home. 

"It's kind of bad around here," Calvin Hawthorne said. "It's to the point where it's almost the norm. It shouldn't be like that. We should be better as a people."

Ronald Burroughs has lived in the neighborhood since the 1940s. He said more investment and pride are needed in order to see progress on the once-prosperous street. 

"More police presence, more police presence," Burroughs said. "That's all. We as a people need to take care of ourselves and police our own. The main thing, keep the neighborhood clean. Pick up after yourself."

While a 5 On Your Side crew was at the scene, investigators were collecting evidence. The crime lab was present investigating.

There were several belongings still in the street behind crime tape, including a backpack and what appeared to be clothing.

The boy is the 56th child to be injured or killed by gunfire in St. Louis in 2022, according to 5 On Your Side data.

Six of the juveniles shot in St. Louis this year have died.

In the week leading up to Tuesday night's shooting, seven kids were shot in the city. One of those minors died after being shot Saturday on Minnesota Avenue.

There have been a total of 340 shootings this year in the city with people of all ages being victims.

5 On Your Side has reached out to SLMPD for an update on the 12-year-old boy's condition. The department has not given a response at this time.

The number of child shootings has been climbing slowly as the months have gone on this year. 

We broke down the numbers according to our 5 On Your Side records. There were 10 minors total, 17 years old and younger, shot in January and February.

Twelve minors were shot each month in March, April and May.

Since SLMPD is expecting a surge in violence over the summer months, the department announced last week it’s adopting mandatory 12-hour shifts for officers working weekends to answer the increased number of calls expected.

Officers will be working 12-hour shifts starting June 10 until the end of September.

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