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DETROIT – An 8-year-old boy who was sleeping early Wednesday died after a bullet fired from outside went through the home's wall and into his bedroom, hitting him, Detroit police said.
The child was struck once about 1:15 a.m. Wednesday at the Brewster Homes complex on Detroit's east side, Officer Adam Madera said, and pronounced dead about 45 minutes later at Children's Hospital of Michigan.
"He was sleeping in his room and gunshots were fired from outside," Madera said.
No arrests were immediately made, but Detroit police were speaking with a "person of interest" in the case, Madera said. An autopsy is scheduled Thursday, Wayne County medical examiner's office spokeswoman Mary Mazur said.
The boy's name wasn't released by police, but The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press identify him as Jakari Pearson.
Grief-stricken relatives declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press. But next door neighbor Tenesha Higgins said there were "five or six" very loud booms — something she said is common in the public housing complex several miles northeast of downtown.
"I was just laying down to sleep," said Higgins, 30. "I heard the gunshots. It sounded like it was literally in front of the house. I waited, then I heard screaming and police sirens.
"I opened the door and the boy was laying in the street," she said, adding it appeared the mother's boyfriend was trying to rush him to the hospital.
"He was a good boy," Higgins said. "He liked to play baseball."
Neighbors and passers-by started a makeshift memorial of stuffed bears, dogs and other toy animals on the front porch of the home. Propped on the toys were handwritten cardboard signs that read: "CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE!" ''GIVE OUR CHLDREN A CHANCE" and "UNITED WE STAND ... STOP THE VIOLENCE!!!!"
Jakari's slaying follows the July 1 shooting death of a 2-year-old girl in Inkster, southwest of Detroit. Police in that case have said KaMiya Gross was killed in front of her father as retaliation from an earlier shooting. Two men are charged in her death.
Late Wednesday morning, police still were at Jakari's home, a corner unit of several attached row houses. The shots appeared to have been fired behind the home toward the second floor. One tore through an upstairs window, while another appeared to cleanly pass through the exterior brick wall two feet beneath the window.
Jakari was to enter the fourth grade at Spain Elementary this year, friends said.
Higgins is fed up with the crime that has been creeping over the past decade or so into the neighborhood. She's lived there about 15 years.
"It can get very dangerous," Higgins said. "These guys get away with a lot of stuff. There have been numerous break-ins.
"I haven't been to sleep. I don't feel safe at all. I didn't go to work today. I didn't want to leave my baby."