Updated 11/30/2010 06:07 AM
Neighbors react to tragic shooting
Violence in Syracuse claims the life of a little boy. Little Rashad Walker Jr. died over the weekend after he was hit with a bullet while in his car seat in his family's van on Coolidge Avenue. Our Kat De Maria was there Monday as neighbors shared their outrage.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- "It's the worst tragedy I've ever seen. And I've been in this neighborhood 34 years," said Coolidge Avenue resident Rahim Nellons.
People who live on Coolidge Avenue say it's a close-knit street where there's not usually trouble. Some say they were out playing with kids and pets Sunday, hours before they heard gun shots.
"I ducked in my house because I didn't know where it was coming from. They I finally got back up. I saw kids running this way and that way. I got my shoes on, came outside. And I had to see the little boy laying on the ground," Nellons said.
Little Rashad Walker Jr., who was in a car seat in his family's van, had been hit. Witnesses say his mother was holding him and he was bleeding. Rashad later died.
"It's like it's not real," said Robert Walker, Rasahd's great uncle.
"It was crazy. Kids were playing outside," one person said.
That neighbor's kids were playing inside, in a room just beyond where officers were looking Monday for at least one bullet that hit the house. On the lawn, someone left a toy bear, the first memorial to Rashad.
"What happened was unfortunate and senseless. And it should have never happened," said Coolidge Avenue resident Leon Williams.
"It was a senseless. It was young boys, teenagers. They obviously don't know what they're doing. I don't know where they get the guns from. But I really believe it needs to stop. A young boy lost his life for nothing. He had nothing to do with their problems. And he still is not here with us anymore," Nellons said.
Neighbors say they're hoping this tragedy will cause more people in the community to work with police to prevent and solve crimes. But at least one says it also may be time for more security.
"Curfew. I'm thinking curfew first," Nellons said.
Another says lawmakers have to crack down on illegal guns.
"When I was coming up around here, it was fisticuffs. Now it's semi-automatics," Walker said.
Whatever the solution, everyone we spoke with agrees something needs to change.
"I'm praying it that changes. And I wanted it to change and I want it to change yesterday," said Walker.
...So the people on Coolidge Avenue can go back to a fun day outside with little Rashad Walker Jr. still alive.
Police tell us they're making "significant progress" on the investigation into Rashad Walker's death. They're still asking for anyone who might know or have seen anything to call the anonymous tip line at (315) 422-5222.