'Y'all killing the future': Loved ones, police react to 9-year-old Rocky Mount boy shot

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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WTVD) -- A 9-year-old boy was shot inside his Rocky Mount home while he slept in his own bed.

It happened shortly before 3 a.m. Tuesday. Rocky Mount Police Chief Robert Hassell said Tuesday the boy was not the intended target of the shooting. Instead, it appeared to be a gang-related that involved a bevy of shots being fired into the home on Proctor Street.

The 9-year-old was taken to Vidant Hospital in Greenville. He is expected to survive.

The child's grandfather spoke to ABC11 on Tuesday. He said he wants his daughter and grandson to get out of that house. He's furious that this crime has reached his family.

"Why this house? All the other houses," Steve McDonald said. "God got something for you. Something for them. You don't be playing with guns. This world is getting worse and worse. "

WATCH: 9-year-old's uncle reacts to nephew being shot

Levar Pittman said adults need to learn how to solve their disagreements without guns.

"If y'all men, at the end of the day, talk to these kids. Talk to them and tell them stop doing senseless murders, stop shooting in occupied dwellings," family friend Levar Pittman said. "Stop shooting were the kids are playing at. Stop it man. Y'all killing the future."

Police Chief Hassell said during a press conference Tuesday that Rocky Mount has a gang problem.

"To everyone who is watching, the violence must stop," Hassell said.

"It's of great concern to me and my staff and the men and women serving our city each and every day. As soon as I got the update, I responded, immediately knowing that a 9 year old--definitely an unintended target, but no matter--a 9 year old was shot while sleeping in his bedroom. That makes you think about your own family. You think about your friends. It is very concerning," Hassell said.

Hassell also spoke Tuesday about what his department is doing to stop the violence.

SEE ALSO: Breakdown of Rocky Mount plans to combat uptick in crime

He said he's talked to many citizens and organizations in Rocky Mount to gather ideas for how city leaders can best help.

"We are forming a multi-agency task force. This task force is going to be focused using data from our analyst unit identifying locations that are experiencing high level of crime. This unit will be focused with saturated patrols in an effort to reduce more violence in our city," Hassell said.

In addition, the city is moving forward with two new technologies to help track offenders. The first is a platform to connect security cameras in the city and allow them to feed real-time video to police. The second is the expansion of a license plate reader that will help officers track down cars quicker.