MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A 2-year-old child is dead and a toddler is wounded after being shot in north Minneapolis on Friday afternoon. Police said they have reason to believe the van they were in was targeted.
Minneapolis police responded to the intersection of Penn Avenue North and Lowry Avenue North just before 11:30 a.m. Friday on a report of gunshots heard in the area. The officers who arrived on scene learned the two children were at North Memorial Medical Center with gunshot wounds.
The 2-year-old boy who was shot, Le'Vonte "King Jason" Jones, died at the hospital. A 15-month-old girl who was shot, Melia Jones, is expected to survive. The mother of the children, LeShae Jones, was embraced by friends and community members at a Friday afternoon vigil at Lowry and Penn.
The Minneapolis Police Department has 8 investigators working on this case. No arrests have been made.
The MPD's Community Support Team was at Lowry and Penn and at North Memorial to help people with their grief and facilitate dialogue. Officers will be providing extra community engagement in the area, and people are strongly encouraged to share any information they may have.
Anyone with information is encouraged to text their tip into 847411 (TIP411). Enter MPD, a space, and then the information. These text messages are assigned a tip number and the police department has no way of identifying the source of the information. All texts are anonymous. You may also call the MPD TIP Line at 612-692-TIPS (8477) or call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Statement from Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau
"We have witnessed yet another tragic and senseless death at the hands of gun violence; it's a scenario our city and others across this country see too often, especially recently. The MPD is conducting a very aggressive investigation which has been productive thus far. We have 8 investigators working around the clock and they will not leave any stones unturned. We will be relentless in holding the person (s) responsible for this horrific act accountable. You will see more uniformed officers and enforcement efforts in areas where we've witnessed recent violence.
"We must come together as a community to confront the issue of gun violence and protect the sanctity of life for everyone. During this tragedy and others we have had throughout the city, I am grateful for our officers and our community members, specifically those assigned to our new Police Community Support Team (PCST). They have been invaluable in helping us facilitate conversations with mourning family members and sharing accurate and timely information with residents. Today, alongside our Police Community Chaplains, PCST members were at the scene and the hospital. I also want to note they've helped us with several investigations and the team was formed just a few weeks ago. This is a partnership we want and need to truly address the violence in our city."
Statement from Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges
"I left the hospital earlier where a mom was grieving her two-year-old who was shot to death today. No mother, no family, no community, no neighborhood, no city should ever -- ever -- have to face the death of a child by gun violence. I am beyond sick of it, and I know that I am not the only one.
I know the forces behind the status quo that make gun violence possible are very powerful. I also know that we have no choice but to win this fight. Our lives, and our children's lives, depend on it.
This could have been a post about what the city can do to address gun violence, or what we are doing. This could have been a post railing against the dysfunction at the state and federal level on this and so many issues. I am sure those posts are in my future.
But right now, I was at the hospital where a two year old lay dead and a mom and her family were grieving. This is what I've got."