The fatal shooting of a 9-year-old boy in Chicago sent shockwaves across the nation this week as the city's violence was once again thrust into the spotlight and some believe the boy was intentionally targeted.
On Wednesday, the shooting prompted a strong reaction from actress Jada Pinkett Smith.
"If anyone knows anything about the murder of Tyshawn Lee SAY SOMETHING...please...," Smith wrote, in part, on Facebook. "My condolences to Tyshawn's mother, to his father and all those who loved him. Rest in peace Tyshawn."
Smith posted a lengthy message to the social media site, calling for people to break the "fierce code" that keeps them from talking to law enforcement.
"Sh@& happens... I know. A 9-year-old child shot several times in the torso in a Chicago alley in the middle of the day should not be one of them," she wrote. "In our communities, many of us live by a fierce code... mind your business, don't say nothing, don't tell the authorities jack. For most of us, it’s for good reason, we don’t trust authority, and it’s dangerous to speak on things that happen in these restless, volatile streets especially when blood is spilled. But in a time when we are demanding for change and asking a nation to stand up, speak out and shine a light on injustices that are occurring in our communities, we have to recognize that it also takes making some change within our community as well. We may need to break some old habits, take some new risks to make sure we practice what we preach. It takes courage to manifest justice, it takes courage to be a hero, it takes courage to ask for change and to BE the change we are asking for."
Fourth-grader Tyshawn Lee was in a Gresham neighborhood alleyway near his grandmother’s home around 4:15 p.m. when he was shot multiple times in the head and back, police said. He was still wearing his school uniform at the time, authorities said.
"Please come forward and find whoever did this to my baby," the boy's mother, Karla Lee, said as tears rolled down her face Tuesday. "Oh my god I love my son. I'm going to miss him."
The shooting has also prompted a response from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“While in Chicago discussing the way forward, another child dies from gun violence just miles away,” Clinton wrote to more than 4 million Twitter followers Monday evening. “Devastating.”
"Whoever did this, I want to say something," Emanuel said. "I believe fundamentally in the goodness of human nature, but there is evil in the world. Whoever did this, there is a special place for them. I hope they never see freedom. I hope they never see daylight."
Last week, President Barack Obama addressed the gun violence afflicting his hometown and urged cooperation between police officers and communities.
"I live on the South Side of Chicago, so my house is pretty close to some places where shootings take place," Obama said. "Because that's real, we have to get on top of it before it becomes an accelerating trend."
In September, the city saw one of its most violent months in years, with two consecutive weekends of more than 50 people shot. In a single day, on Sept. 2, nine people were killed and at least 12 others were wounded in shootings across the city, making it the deadliest day in the city in over a decade.
"Please put the guns down, please," Karla Lee pleaded. "They're taking too many young lives, please. I'm only 26, this is my only baby, my only baby and now he's gone."
A reward for information leading to an arrest in the case has climbed to $35,000.
“Somebody executed a baby,” Father Michael Pfleger from Saint Sabina Church said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Lee was a student at Scott Joplin School, where his teachers say he was a "delight" to have in class. He liked to play sports and video games.
"He was supposed to play ball. That's all he do, all he liked to do is play ball and play video games," Karla Lee said. "He didn't hurt nobody. I don't know why this happened."
Anyone who may have information about the incident is being asked to call (312) 747-8271.