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Community leaders plead for change after boy grazed by bullet

7-year-old inside home hit by gunfire; police still searching for shooter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Community members are calling for change after a 7-year-old boy was grazed by a bullet Sunday morning inside his home.

The boy was treated at a hospital and released.

Police were called just after 6:30 a.m. because someone was shooting in the street and several shots hit a home.

A bullet hole was still visible Monday in an upstairs window of the home on McQuade Street, just off Beaver Street. Police are still searching for the shooter.

The child's uncle, Darrell Love, said he woke up to the sound of gunfire and then heard his nephew screaming.

“I ended up lifting up his shirt, and I seen he had gotten scraped by a bullet,” Love said. “He’s doing fine now, but it was pretty massive, about the size of some lips. He was just bleeding real bad.”

The child was driven to the hospital by his guardian.

Alfred Cotton has been the pastor at Community Missionary Baptist Church for 26 years. It’s just a few blocks away from the house that was hit by the gunfire.

“It's a very sad situation that we have not yet found ways besides violence to solve our problems,” Cotton said. “That little child had nothing to do with it, whatever the issue might have been. And it's sad that we can't find better solutions than violence, bringing children and hurting children into problems that adults might have.”

District 9 City Councilman Garrett Dennis said the solution to gun violence isn’t simple, but everyone in Jacksonville has to work to find it.

“The violence is happening in my district, but it spreads over. It doesn't have a fence. It doesn't have a gate. It doesn't have a ZIP code, so it's going to spread over, so we need to get a handle on gunfire, so it doesn't spread over through our city,” Dennis said. “When people don't have hope, they turn to crime. So we're going to have to have everything on the table, use every tool in the toolbox to curb crime.”

Dennis pointed to several methods to ease the violence, including job creation, stricter enforcement and youth intervention.

Cotton said that, for him, faith is the answer.

“There is a solution to every problem, and what we try to do is to help people with problems to find answers to their problem,” Cotton said. “That's with the church is all about.”

Anyone with any information on the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.