ST. LOUIS — A 14-year-old boy was shot and killed in St. Louis Wednesday night, marking the 16th child fatally shot in the city this year.
In 2019, a total of 14 children were shot and killed — a number that landed St. Louis in national headlines.
It's Aug. 13, and 2020 has already surpassed that number.
In total, 88 children have been shot in 2020, with victims ranging from 17 years old to as young as 1. In many cases, children got a hold of unsecured guns or were caught in the crossfire. Others were intended targets.
Behind every fatal shooting is the story of a child who was loved and lost.
The first child killed this year was 14-year-old Timothy Lucas. On Jan. 18, the Metro East boy was found shot in the chest on a street in St. Louis' Baden neighborhood and was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
His father, Theodore Lucas, said Timothy was an animated kid who loved to dance and excelled in football and basketball.
"He loved his family. He took care of his family, took care of his friends," his father said. "He looked out for whoever he was around. He used to cut grass, do whatever he can to help."
On Feb. 22, 6-year-old David Birchfield III and his 9-year-old sister were shot when someone opened fire on his family's car in the Kingsway East neighborhood. His mother and her boyfriend drove straight to St. Louis Children's Hospital, where David was pronounced dead. His sister was critically injured.
On the Fourth of July, four children were shot within an hour. One of the victims was a 4-year-old boy who was shot in the head by a stray bullet. He died nearly a week later at an area hospital.
And on Wednesday, 14-year-old Victrail Mora was found shot near a curb on the 2800 block of Gamble in the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A homicide investigation is underway.
In total, there have been 165 homicides in the city this year.
"CUT SHORT: Unsolved Killings of St. Louis Children" is an initiative of KSDK 5 On Your Side and its community outreach program, "Project 5," to raise awareness of the unchecked violence against children in the city of St. Louis from the summer of 2019 to present.
We're dedicated to telling their stories, following the criminal investigations and shining a light on the reasons for gun violence in our city. We won't let up.
Please join us in this important campaign seeking justice for our youth by sharing these stories about their young lives cut short, reaching out to elected officials and supporting the worthy organizations in St. Louis working to make our city's neighborhoods safer places to raise families.
Editor's note: This report included an incorrect number of children 17 and under shot in St. Louis in 2020. It has been revised to reflect the correct total as of the date of initial publication.