Updated 7:20 p.m.
A 7-year-old Southwest Philadelphia boy struck in the head by a stray bullet over the weekend has died from his injuries. Zamar Jones was pronounced dead Monday at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the District Attorney’s Office said.
Earlier in the day, District Attorney Larry Krasner announced an initial set of charges against one of the men allegedly involved in the Saturday shooting, in which the young boy was wounded while playing on his porch.
“As long as our communities are flooded with firearms, and as long as the conditions exist that spur people to pick them up with little care for their futures, these tragedies will occur,” Krasner said in a statement detailing the charges against accused shooter Christopher Linder.
The statement said Linder was targeting an adult man when he was driving through the 200 block of North Simpson Street Saturday night. The child was playing on the porch as Linder exchanged shots with other men.
Linder allegedly stole a different vehicle so he could flee the scene but later returned to pick up his own vehicle, the statement said. Police told the Inquirer they arrested Linder upon his return.
Monday afternoon, Krasner said Linder will face a murder charge in addition to the already announced counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault, illegal possession of a gun, and charges related to the theft of a vehicle, plus assorted misdemeanor charges.
Two other men involved in the firefight remained at large, and police were seeking the public’s help in finding them.
“Arresting people after there is a 7-year-old boy who has passed away due to being shot is not what we need,” Krasner said after Jones’ death. “We need the shots not to be fired in the first place.”
He said that whether it’s dealing with “poverty, dealing with other issues of opportunity and equality,” the city had to “crack the code” to prevent such tragedies.
But neighbors like Mylazz Montgomery are desperate. She said Jones was sharing his beloved Nintendo Switch with her older daughter when the shooting took place. Montgomery has sent her daughter to a relative’s house as the block deals with the trauma of losing one of their own.
Montgomery described Jones as joined at the hip with his younger brother. She said the pair often came to her home across the street looking to play with her daughters, ages 12 and 6.
“They was always playing with their race cars, they always had snacks,” she said, adding that the boys were boisterous. “But they weren’t disrespectful. I liked those kids, and that says a lot.”
Monday evening, neighbors who knew Zamar Jones filled out a sympathy card for his family and placed balloons, red roses, and candles on the porch where he was shot.
The block remained quiet as a police car kept watch on the corner. Montgomery said this isn’t the first time police presence was needed to keep residents safe.
In 2017, she recalled, “cops had to stay on the block for almost a year straight, walking up and down, sitting at the corner just to keep the nonsense down.”
Montgomery said violence is such a concern, she’s taught her daughters how to duck in case of a shooting.
Anyone with information about the Saturday night shooting is urged to dial 911, contact the Philadelphia Police Department tip line at 215-686-TIPS (215-686-8477), or submit an online tip.