Six-year-old Jashown Banner is clinging to life after being shot in the head in Wilmington. A vigil was held Wednesday.
With a 6-year-old boy clinging to life after being shot in the head in Wilmington, indignation over the city’s relentless and rampant gun violence has spurred residents, politicians and civic leaders to call on the shooters to put down their weapons.
Those emotions came at a vigil held Wednesday night at the scene of the previous day’s carnage, Sixth and Spruce streets on the city’s East Side. Barely five months into the year, Wilmington has already had 97 people shot and 20 homicides, a pace that would shatter all previous annual highs for bloodshed in a city that Newsweek magazine dubbed “Murder Town USA” in a 2014 article.
Jashown Banner, whom his family calls “Lj”, was shot in the head about 3 p.m. Tuesday. He “died three times” but was revived each time by doctors at Alfred I. duPont Hospital of Children, his mother Shaylynn, told WHYY on Friday in a telephone interview from his room. She said the boy has not yet regained consciousness.
“He’s a fighter,” she said, adding that she was remaining optimistic that the child who loves sports and video games will recover.
Recounting the violence, Shaylynn Banner Hackett said a gunman in another vehicle cut off her white Ford Explorer at a stop sign and fired about nine shots at someone on the street. Instead, a bullet struck Jashown in the face, leaving him bloody and unconscious.
Also in the vehicle were her 2-year-old daughter and mother, Shaylynn Banner Hackett said, but only her son was struck. She was injured in the arm by glass framents or debris but was treated at Chrstiana Hospital and released.
At the vigil, attended by about 100 people, those in the crowd also said the carnage will continue until residents take back their communities by being better parents and neighbors, and by cooperating with police when crime occurs.
“It’s not normal for somebody to just come down the street and let off and start blasting without considering other people that are in your midst,” a member of the Wilmington Peacekeepers told the crowd of about 100 who prayed and spoke out.
Shouted another Peacekeeper: “The men have to start standing up and starting putting the name back in the hood” rather than wait for outsiders to make changes. “We’ve got to do it. We live here. This is your home.”
Mayor Mike Purzycki, who responded to the shooting scene within minutes Tuesday, joined in a prayer circle with members of the crowd and later told them: “This is a terribly sad day for all of us.”
He said the brazen act that has left an innocent boy riddled with bullets is a reminder “about what’s wrong with our community.”
Then he pointed to the gathering of love and support for the boy and said, “But if you look around there’s so much right with our community.”
In the statement, the boy’s family thanked well-wishes for their “love and support.”
The boy is “a very strong and courageous child and he’s proving this by the seconds,” the statement said. “It saddens our hearts that someone could be so vicious and careless to spray bullets in the middle of the day without considering the possibility that an innocent person could get hurt. Now, our six-year old is fighting!”
“We ask that the people responsible for this malicious act be held accountable for their actions. We also ask that everyone keep our family in your prayers and help us pray this miracle into existence.”
The family’s statement is as follows: “Firstly, we would like to say thank you for the love and support from family, friends and the community. Jashown, (pronounced Jay-Shawn) is a very strong and courageous child and he’s proving this by the seconds. It saddens our hearts that someone could be so vicious and careless to spray bullets in the middle of the day without considering the possibility that an innocent person could get hurt. Now, our six-year old is fighting! We ask that the people responsible for this malicious act be held accountable for their actions. We also ask that everyone keep our family in your prayers and help us pray this miracle into existence.”