Near West Side shooting: 7-year-old boy killed, police search for gunman

A 7-year-old boy was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon in Chicago’s Near West Side neighborhood. It comes on the heels of a violent Father's Day weekend.

On Wednesday, family and friends gathered for a balloon release in the boy's honor. 

The incident occurred around 3 p.m. at the Oakland Square apartments in the 2200 block of West Jackson Boulevard. A separate, yet connected, crime scene was across the street outside Crane High School where witnesses said the gunshots originated.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found the child suffering from a gunshot wound to the torso.

"This 7-year-old was exiting his apartment, going to visit a neighbor right next door when he was struck," said Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling.

Responding officers attempted life-saving measures on the boy and rushed him to the hospital in a squad car. Unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries. The boy was identified as Jai'mani Amir Rivera by the Cook County medical examiner's office on Wednesday.

Jai'mani Amir Rivera | Photo provided by family 

"I can tell you, the weapon used to kill this baby is illegal and has no business on the streets or anywhere else for that matter," Mayor Brandon Johnson said.

Snelling noted that detectives believe the shooting was random and that the child was not the intended target. Police are currently canvassing the area looking for evidence and potential video footage of the incident.

"But this is unacceptable. We are losing our children, and we really need to think about the gun violence that's going on in this city. And we all need to step up to try to fight this gun violence to save our children," Snelling said.

At the scene, FOX 32 cameras captured a vehicle taped off with one of the back windows shattered.

Neighbors said gunfire has been rampant in the area for some time. The shooting comes just three weeks after 5-year-old Regg Ware was killed one block away. That killer remains at large.

"The tragedy that we are experiencing right now are the direct results from decades of disinvestment. There's a direct correlation from disinvestment, poverty and violence," Mayor Brandon Johnson said.

"Every resource we get from the mayor's office, we're going to saturate locations with all the resources we can," Snelling added.

Residents expressed their outrage at the shooting.

"We should not have to live like this," one woman said.

Nobody was reported in custody. The investigation is ongoing.