A 5-year-old Minneapolis boy was shot and killed in north Minneapolis onTuesday morning.
Minneapolis Police Inspector Mike Martin said a number of people were gathered outside the home at 45th Avenue North and Bryant Avenue North when several shots were fired around 8:35 a.m.
At least one bullet entered the home and struck 5-year-old Nizzel George, who collapsed on the couch at his grandmother's. George, an only child, and his mother had moved in with his grandmother just a couple of months earlier.
Ten people were in the house visiting at the time of the shooting.
"It sounded like firecrackers at first, and then I could see the drywall popping off the walls," said Robert Tolliver, the victim's uncle, who was in house at time of the shooting. "And then he hollered out, like 'Oh!' a couple of times. I'm just shocked because it could have been me -- I was in there and bullets were flying right past me, too. It was so close and bullets (were) ringing from everywhere."
Tolliver said he heard as many as 10 gunshots, and that five found their way inside to where his nephew was sleeping.
"He was laying on the couch in the living room right by the door, and the bullet that came through the door is the one that hit him in the back," he told FOX 9 News.
Neighbor Tony Ferguson was sitting on his porch when he heard about five or six gunshots.
"When I found out it was a 5-year-old kid, I was just devastated because I have 11 kids and some are around that age," Ferguson said.
Police and paramedics performed CPR at the scene, but George was pronounced dead at North Memorial Medical Center.
Police are looking for a suspect and say some community members have come forward with information, but they have no strong leads so far. Anyone with information is asked to call the Minneapolis police tipline at 612-692-TIPS.
Crime Stoppers of Minnesota is offering a reward up to $1,000 for information in this case.
Community members told FOX 9 News that the shooting may have been linked to another shooting that happened two blocks away on Monday night.
"This is a horribly tragic situation," Martin said. "Especially in a neighborhood like this. It's a good neighborhood. There's a lot of good hard-working people that live here and it's very unexpected."
Yet, police are familiar with the address where the shooting took place. City records show that police have been called to the home five times so far this year, including for a report of domestic abuse.
While police seek the shooter, city leaders say there is growing frustration over the number of kids trying to settle their problems with guns.
"I'm pissed," said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. "We are outraged and should be -- and so should this entire community."
Rybak added that he hopes members of the community will turn that outrage into vigilance against violence.
Investigators said they believe they know who is involved on both sides of the ongoing feud that led to the shooting, but they did not release details out of fear that it could cause further retaliation.
"We need people to try to stay calm," said Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan. "Come forward with information and help us close up this case."
Yet, while an arrest may bring closure to the victim's family, Dolan admits it won't make the larger problem go away.
"We have far too much gun play out there. We have far too many 16 to 20-year-old men who are deciding to deal with their disputes with gunfire," he said.
Peace activist K.G. Wilson said he blames cliques -- or groups of teens acting like gangs -- for much of the violence.
Terrell Mayes' mother Marsha showed up at the scene to remind community members that this latest shooting comes six months to the day that her 3-year-old son was shot and killed while climbing the stairs in his home. Police still have no suspects in that case despite an $11,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
"This just makes me feel like my son, Terrell, is murdered all over again, and today makes six months," Mayes said. "Do a sweep. Wipe these houses. This 9mm used on my son is still out here, and here it is -- somebody shooting again."
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