'Surprises me a lot.' Homicide leading cause of death among children, study reveals

Elaina Athans Image
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Leading cause of death among children is homicide, study reveals
A new study finds that homicide is the leading cause of death among children and that overall homicide rate has increased each year on average 4.3 percent since 2013.

A new study finds that homicide is the leading cause of death among children and that overall homicide rate has increased each year on average 4.3 percent since 2013.

"It actually surprises me a lot," said parent Doris Qi.

Her daughter is young now, but she worries what could happen as she gets older.

"Sometimes I don't want her to go to public places. I'm scared things may happen," said Qi.

The report says that black boys were killed more than any other group and that rate up 16 percent in between 2018 and 2020.

A 16-year-old from Henderson is one of the latest victims.

Police says Krystal Gray was found with a gunshot wound Saturday night sitting in the passenger seat of a car.

The Vance County School District says in a statement, "We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of our students over the weekend. We send our condolences to the family during this difficult time."

So many other families unfortunately are dealing with similar pain.

Last month, in two separate shootings, a Millbrook High School student Xzavion Lawton was killed and a Durham 16-year-old lost his life.

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Governor Roy Cooper saying a couple of months ago there have been ongoing statewide meetings with law enforcement, including federal agencies, looking for ways to tackle this problem.

"We must be laser focused on stopping the true criminals, those who are committing violent crime and particularly gun violence in our communities. It has to stop," said Cooper.

Kerwin Pittman, a member of the North Carolina Task Force on Racial Equality and Criminal Justice criminal justice, says the staggering statistics shows a need for more resources and investments in our youth.

"What we see is lack of mentorship. What we see is lack of mental health help. A lot of these youth, especially black males, are dealing with trauma. And we know hurt people hurt people. So when you have unhealed trauma that is not being addressed properly - guess what - you're going to continue to see a rise in gun violence," said Pittman.