(CBS) — A heartbroken family says goodbye to a 7-year old boy who died from a gunshot wound on the Fourth of July.
WBBM’s Mariam Sobh reports hundreds of people from across the city gathered at Mount Vernon Baptist Church on the Near West Side to pay their respects to Amari Brown.
Congressman Danny Davis and Senator Mark Kirk were among the attendees at the filled-to-capacity church.
Many were dressed all in white and some in Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle shirts. Amari was a TNMT fan and there even were a few people dressed as the turtles.
There’s was a sense of frustration and distrust from family members at the news media especially from Amari’s father Antonio Brown. Family members calmed him down before he entered the church because he did not want any cameras present.
Community members tell WBBM Antonio Brown feels particularly violated after Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy blasted him publicly.
Police say Amari Brown was with his dad standing outside a building July 4th when the child, an innocent victim, was shot in the chest and died.
— Mariam Sobh (@mariamsobh) July 11, 2015
Friends and family gathered last night at Jennings Funeral home in the South Austin neighborhood, for the little boy’s visitation.
Community leaders are offering a $6,000 reward for information leading to the shooter’s arrest.
The crime happened around midnight July 4th in the area of North Harding near West Thomas.
Chicago police have said the bullet that killed Amari was meant for his father, Antonio, whom they describe as a ranking gang member. Antonio Brown’s attorney disputes that. But concerns about escalating gang violence continue
“I spoke personally with the father and asked the father to be careful and no payback,” said family friend Don Juan.
And after a particularly violent holiday weekend…which left 10 dead and 53 wounded, today again many are calling for change and tougher laws
“Bring in federal help to arrest enough of these people so the violence level goes down and down and we cart them off to federal penitentiary,” said Senator Kirk.
“Baby Amari was not a gang leader,” said activist Ira Acree. “It’s a shame, it is a travesty that we did not give him a better world.”