ST. LOUIS — A 12-year-old girl is in critical condition after she was shot late Tuesday night in St. Louis.
The shooting happened in the area of Bessie Avenue and Shreve Avenue just before midnight. According to a police report, the victim arrived at an area hospital with a gunshot wound to her head.
A 36-year-old man told officers that he, the girl and another 36-year-old man were leaving his home on Bessie Avenue when they came to a stop at the intersection with Shreve Avenue. The two men said they heard gunshots and realized their car was being shot at.
After the gunshots stopped, they noticed the young girl was unresponsive in the backseat.
Police said she remains in critical condition at the hospital. Neighbors said they are tired of the violence in their community.
"That poor kid laying in the hospital," Maurice Webbs, a neighbor said. "Probably don't know she's even lying in there. That could be my kid or grandkid."
Webbs has lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years with his family. He said constant speeding and gunfire on his street are making the area unsafe.
"They come through here doing 80-95 miles per hour outrunning the police," Webbs said. "If your son comes home years old with a pocket full of money where do you think he got it from? I'd call them (police) to come get him."
Webbs wants to see more discipline in the homes and more police on his street.
"It's a heartbreaker," the longtime neighbor said. "I have love in my heart. I go to church and pray for fools."
According to 5 On Your Side data, there have been 482 shootings in St. Louis this year; 69 of those were children 17 years old and younger. Seven of those children have died.
Resources for crime victims:
If you have been a victim of a crime or know someone who has been, 5 On Your Side has compiled a list of resources.
Better Family Life is a nonprofit community development organization working to "stabilize inner-city neighborhoods." One aspect of its mission is a gun violence de-escalation program.
Life Outside of Violence "helps those harmed by stabbing, gunshot or assault receive the treatment, support and resources they need to find alternatives to end the cycle of violence."
The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis has an anti-crime program called “Safety Net for Youth Initiative,” which is a joint partnership with St. Louis Public Schools to provide services to at-risk youth.
Cure Violence is an international organization that has recently launched in a handful of St. Louis neighborhoods. Violence interrupters are trained to deescalate violent situations within their own communities.