The reward for information about the person who shot and killed a 3-year-old boy in Chicago over the weekend has grown to $10,000.
Mekhi James was fatally shot while riding in a car at around 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the city's Austin neighborhood, authorities said. A 27-year-old man told police he was driving southbound in the 600 block of North Central Avenue when someone inside a blue Honda opened fire, striking him and the toddler.
Mekhi was shot in the back and taken to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park where he was pronounced dead, officials said. The driver suffered a graze wound to the abdomen and refused medical treatment.
Pastor Ira Acree of the Greater St John Bible Church offered a $2,500 reward Sunday aiming to "call on the community to speak up and help us get the perpetrator of this crime off the street," Acree said.
Other community groups, including the Leaders Network and MAAFA Redemption Project, helped increase the reward to a total of $10,000, Acree said in a statement Wednesday.
Acree, other faith leaders and Mekhi's family planned to announce details of the reward at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, where his mother and grandparents were expected to address the shooting and share a message for the 3-year-old's killer, Acree said.
"We will continue to stand with this family and we will not rest until the killer of their baby is off the streets," Acree said. "Any one who will kill an innocent child is an imminent threat to all of us."
Mekhi was one of four children killed over a violent Father's Day weekend in Chicago that saw 104 people shot, 14 fatally, across the city between Friday evening and early Monday, according to police.