"In four years, she gave me more joy than most people can get in 40 years," Kaari Thompson's grandfather Kirk Thompson said.
A 4-year-old girl identified as Kaari Thompson died at a Pennsylvania store, after she was shot while grocery shopping with her mom, in Pittsburgh's Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar neighborhood. The two were rushed to a local hospital, where the child was pronounced dead. The mother was also critically injured. It is yet to be determined whether the girl or her mom were the target of the shooting.
"In four years, she gave me more joy than most people can get in 40 years," her grandfather Kirk Thompson told WTAE during a vigil that was held on December 4, 2022. Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and several pastors joined dozens of people in the Lincoln-Lemington neighborhood to protest against the rise in gun violence. "There's no reason that a 4-year-old child should have been murdered because of gun violence in our city. None. There's no reason why we should devalue life at this level," Gainey said, according to CBS News.
He urged the community to stop using guns to solve problems and settle differences. "They don't solve problems. All they do is allow us to lose two people — the victim and the perpetrator," he said. "Now we've got two families, two families injured that are going to lose loved ones. No one is going to stop it except for us. We got so many guns on our street and you hear me say it over and over again that our young people are getting these guns and they feel the way to resolve conflict is by gunplay, gun violence. It is not. And we have to step up."
“There is no reason a 4-year-old should have been murdered,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey. “There’s no reason a 4-year-old should be gunned down in our city — period.” https://t.co/Vst9xS9I2q— Ryan Deto (@RyanDeto) December 3, 2022
The little girl's death is one of 67 homicides in Pittsburgh just this year. Around 14 children under the age of 18 have lost their lives to gun violence. Officials say gunfire rang out on Lincoln Avenue around 6:40 pm on the night of December 1, 2022. "Anybody that saw or heard anything, anybody that has information that they're hearing... we're asking and pleading with anybody to come forward and share that with us," Pittsburgh Police Zone 5 Commander Stephen Vinansky shared, according to KDKA-TV.
"This incident occurred because some people decided to settle their differences by using guns and violence," said Acting Pittsburgh Police Chief Thomas Stangrecki. "Our detectives and officers are working very hard to identify the individuals responsible for this crime and take them off the street."
"Our whole family is devastated," Heather Thompson, Kaari's aunt added. "This was senseless. Why would you gun down a 4-year-old? My niece didn't deserve this," Thompson said. "If anybody knows anything, contact somebody."
Four-year-old Kaari Thompson was killed and her mother was injured after a shooting in Pittsburgh's Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar neighborhood last night. https://t.co/PDFnaCN2dP pic.twitter.com/yVXNi9K0Gw— KDKA (@KDKA) December 2, 2022
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe | Donate in the memory of Kaari Thompson