“Am I going to die?”
Those were the chilling words a seven-year-old boy repeatedly asked a neighbour after he was struck by one of several bullets fired into an east end Hamilton home on Thursday night.
Danny, who lives next door, says he ran outside of his house on Gordon Street after hearing several gunshots just before 8 p.m.
The gunfire was soon followed by frantic screams from the boy’s mother.
Danny rushed into the home and discovered the boy bleeding from the stomach in the main floor hallway. He says he immediately began applying pressure to the boy’s wound and tried to ease his mounting fears until an ambulance arrived.
“When I put the pressure on he said ‘that hurts’ and I said ‘I have to put a lot of pressure to keep you from bleeding,’ ” Danny explained. “And he says, ‘OK, it’s hard to breathe.’ ”
Despite his youth, the boy seemed to grasp the magnitude of the situation.
“Am I going to die?” Danny says the boy asked him several times.
Paramedics said they transported the child to hospital with “serious, life-threatening” injuries.
Police later updated his condition, saying it has since stabilized.
Evidence markers line pathway along side of the home. pic.twitter.com/NJb38YtwkB
— Tammie Sutherland (@citytammie) January 24, 2020
Another neighbour, Justin Bailey, told CityNews that his two children go the school with the victim, and he’s struggling with how to explain the shooting to them.
“He (my son) goes to school with the little boy … So we’ve got to explain to him today what happened. How do you explain to my 10-year-old that a kid that he goes to school with, that he likes, was shot by a bad man. What do you say?”
Police haven’t released any suspect descriptions, but officers on scene say it appears a gunman exited a car, walked to the rear of the house, and began firing into the home from the backyard.
The suspect’s car is described as a light-coloured four door sedan.
Investigators believe the home was targeted and the child was an unintended victim. There were three adults and two children in the home at the time of the incident and the 7-year-old was on the main floor. A mother and two children live in the home.
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender would not provide any details about the adults inside the home, but say “Some individuals that were inside of that house were known to the police service.”
They are currently working to determine if one of the adults was the intended target.
Watch the full police update below:
“This is unacceptable,” said Hamilton deputy police chief Frank Bergen.
“Coming out of year of 47 shootings, we’ve already had three shootings in 2020 – this is our first victim. A seven-year-old is not acceptable.”
No one else was injured in the shooting.
“This is a time when our community has to stop and understand what the proliferation of guns are doing in our community,” said Bergen while appealing for anyone to come forward with information.
“We hear a great deal about the problems within the GTA and we are now talking about a sidewalk within our community that’s also affected by this. Let’s all of us start looking at what are the problems with guns and gangs and look at solutions together.”
Police say they have received lots of video evidence from the neighbourhood, but continue to appeal to the public for information and surveillance footage.