Nine children have been gunned down at a petrol station in one of the latest mass shootings to shock the US. Seven boys and two girls – the youngest just five years old – are alive and have received hospital treatment, although a shooter has not been identified.
Police told a news conference gunfire broke out when a group of teenagers from a nearby party had an altercation in the car park after 10pm on Friday.
All injuries sustained are not life-threatening and four of the children have been released from the hospital, Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon said. The oldest is 17.
The five-year-old was with a family member at the Shell station in Columbus, Georgia – located near the Alabama border – when the incident unfolded.
It is the 73rd mass shooting in the US in 2023 and one of 11 in the last seven days, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
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Chief Blackmon urged parents in the community to “know where your children are and what they have in their possession.”
“We must work towards helping communicate to our children how to peacefully resolve conflict without resorting to gun violence,” he said.
Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said: “While we’re thankful there was no loss of life, nine people were injured and that’s unacceptable.
“It is going to take our entire community to change our culture in which violence is an acceptable answer to a disagreement.
“We will catch the criminals who did this, but we must work as a community to keep things like this from happening in the first place.”
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