Nationally, more than 6,000 children and teens were killed or injured by gunfire in the U.S. in 2022, according to data from the archive. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of children and teens killed by bullets increased 50% in the United States, according to a Pew Research Center national study.
The number and rate of children and teens killed by gunfire in 2021 were both higher than at any point since at least 1999, the earliest year for which information about those younger than 18 is available in the CDC’s mortality database, the study determined. The majority of gun deaths among children were homicides, the study found.
In the first of two weekend shootings involving teenagers, a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed by a classmate outside a high school football game Saturday afternoon, according to police. On Sunday, investigators were searching for a second teenager accused of the killing.
The shooting happened shortly before 5 p.m. near Griffin High School, police said. Griffin police officers and Spalding County deputies were at the school for a 2 p.m. game between Griffin and Spalding County.
At around 4:42 p.m., officers heard gunshots fired in the area, according to Investigator Richard Powell with Griffin police. After searching the area, law enforcement officers located a 15-year-old boy at the intersection of South 5th and East Poplar streets, Powell said in an emailed statement.
“The victim was transported to Wellstar Spalding Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries,” police said.
The teenager’s name was not released.
Investigators said Sunday there was no ongoing threat to the community and a weapon was not brought into the stadium.
“Preliminary information shows that the victim did know the suspect as acquaintances from school and this was not a random incident,” Powell said.
On Sunday, Griffin police said 17-year-old Kaomarion Kendricks had been charged with murder, aggravated assault, possession of a pistol by persons under 18, reckless conduct, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. His whereabouts were unknown, and he was considered armed and dangerous, Powell said.
“Any persons caught harboring this fugitive will be charged accordingly,” District Attorney Marie Broder said in an emailed statement.
The district attorney’s office was assisting with the investigation, along with the Griffin-Spalding County school system. Grief counselors are expected at Griffin and Spalding County high schools Monday.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Griffin police at 770-229-6452.
In a separate incident in August, an 18-year-old student was shot in the Tara Stadium parking during a football game, the Clayton County school district said.
The Dutchtown High School senior was shot at around 10:25 p.m. Aug. 18 while Jonesboro was playing Mt. Zion, the school district said. According to investigators, the shooting was the result of an attempted robbery.
Isaiah Thomas suffered a spinal cord injury in the shooting and was told he may never walk again, his family said.
“He’s not accepting at all that he won’t be able to walk again. He tells us all the time that he’s going to be OK, he’s going to be great, he’s going to be fine, and he’s going to walk again,” Thomas’ older sister, Tatiana Brimidge, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution days after the shooting.
Hours after the Griffin shooting, a 15-year-old died after being shot in DeKalb County, according to Lithonia police.
The shooting happened at around 7 p.m. in the 2000 block of Rock Chapel Road, Sgt. Jedidia Hazlewood said in a media release. The teenager died in an ambulance while on the way to the hospital, Hazlewood said.
No further details were released about what led to the shooting.
“Our dedicated detectives are working tirelessly to uncover the circumstances surrounding this tragic event,” police said. “At this time, we have several person(s) of interest and are conducting thorough questioning.”
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact detectives by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.