A Little Rock, Arkansas, 3-year-old was shot and killed Saturday evening, after an irate driver opened fire on the child’s grandmother, police say.
The young boy’s grandmother, Kim King-Macon, 47, had taken him out for holiday shopping, when she slowed for a stop sign in southwest Little Rock. But a nearby driver decided the woman was moving too slowly at the stop sign. In what police describe as a road-rage incident, the driver pulled a gun and fired on the car, striking and killing the 3-year-old.
The shooting was senseless and unprovoked, police said in a press conference. The boy’s grandmother, who survived the shooting unscathed, had never met the man who allegedly began honking at her when she stopped at the sign around 6:30 p.m. The grandmother, who had stopped legally at the sign, honked back, according to an initial report released by Little Rock police.
Already angry, the other driver allegedly grew violent. He stepped out of his car and fired one shot on the grandmother’s vehicle.
The grandmother didn’t know where the bullet landed. She fled her assailant and drove to the parking lot of the nearby JC Penney where she had planned to take her grandson, according to the police report. But when she stopped the car and looked in the backseat, she realized the child had been shot.
Nearby shoppers rushed to treat the wounded boy. But emergency responders were too late to save him. He was transported to a nearby children’s hospital and pronounced dead a short time later.
The hunt for the child’s killer is in its early stages, Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner told reporters Saturday night. Police have not yet identified a suspect, but have described the alleged shooter as a tall black man driving an “older black Chevrolet Impala.” The grandmother’s car has been impounded for a full forensic investigation.
Police said the unidentified child and grandmother were completely innocent in the shooting.
“When it involves children, especially kids that are this age, they’re very innocent,” Buckner said, calling for peace from the Little Rock community. “They can do very little to protect themselves. You would hope that as a community… that we’d do everything we can to protect them.”
The child’s death is a particularly painful subject for many in Little Rock, who have seen two similar incidents within a month of each other.
“This is the second time in less than a month that a child has been shot while traveling in a vehicle in our city,” Buckner said, referring to a Nov. 22 shooting that claimed the life of a 2-year-old girl.
The unnamed toddler had been riding in the backseat of a car, in her mother’s arms, when a passing vehicle allegedly opened fire on them, riddling the car with bullets. The girl’s mother and the car’s other passengers survived, but told police they were unable to spot the passengers in the other vehicle. The case remains open.
Buckner said the pair of senseless shootings on the city’s children -- both without suspects -- are among the most frustrating experiences for law enforcement.
“This is about as frustrated as you can be as a public safety official, or just a plain citizen who’s sitting and watching this tonight, to think that these kind of things are occurring in our city streets,” he said.