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Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

GoFundMe Launched For Family Of Mekhi James, Toddler Fatally Shot In Austin

James was shot and killed June 20 in Austin, the youngest victim in that weekend's gun violence.

Mekhi James' mother holds a photo of her 3-year-old son at a vigil for shooting victims in Austin.
Pascal Sabino / Block Club Chicago
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AUSTIN — A fundraiser for the family of Mekhi James, a 3-year-old boy who was killed on the West Side, has raised more than $9,000 in five days.

Cynthia Williams, the CEO of the Austin People’s Action Center, started the GoFundMe to raise money for James’s family.

James was shot and killed June 20 in Austin, one of the more than 100 people shot that weekend throughout the city. He was the youngest of several children killed during the bloody weekend.

James was killed when a gunman fired into the care of his stepfather, police said. Police said the stepfather was thought to be the intended target.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot condemned James’ death as a “heinous, unconscionable act of cowardice.”

In the GoFundMe description, Williams wrote she was a block away celebrating her granddaughter’s graduation when James was killed. She urged people to help the family during “this very difficult time.”

“I cannot get the sound of those gunshots out of my head,” she wrote. “Can you? When can we replace the gun shots, with the unity of community, joining together to fight against these injustices.”

People filled the GoFundMe with comments of support and grief, some noting they too had lost a loved one to gun violence.

James’ family is offering a $13,000 reward for information on the shooter. Anyone with information can call 312-746-8251 to be connected with detectives, and people can submit an anonymous tip online.

The burst of summer violence continued this weekend, with more children being killed: a 10-year-old in Logan Square was killed Saturday after a stray bullet came through an apartment window, and a 1-year-old baby was shot and killed in Englewood the same day.

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