It’s difficult not to shed a tear upon seeing the happy smile captured in so many photographs of 1-year-old Carmelo Duncan. A little boy with bright eyes, an infectious smile and those chubby kissable cheeks is no longer with us. Someone murdered him. A gunman, who remains at-large, fatally shot Carmelo as he sat strapped in his car seat in the back seat of a vehicle driven by his father. Carmelo’s 8-year-old brother was seated next to him. Two people were reportedly driving along the intersection near Central and Southern Avenues in Southeast last Wednesday, Dec. 3, when they fired multiple times into the car.

Family and friends held vigils near the site where the dastardly deed occurred and joined together to call for the end of gun violence while also demanding that city officials help get guns off the streets. They appealed to the perpetrators to turn themselves in. Meanwhile, in partnership with the ATF Washington Field Division and the FBI Washington Field Office, MPD is offering up to a $60,000 reward to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the responsible person(s).

Sadly, Carmelo’s death is not a singular occurrence. A Google search of “one-year-olds shot” in 2020 returns multiple names. In Brooklyn, New York, 1-year-old Davell Gardner was killed last July while sitting in his stroller when someone fired gunshots across a park. In June, someone killed 1-year-old Sincere Gaston and injured his mother in Chicago while they were driving home from the laundromat. A car pulled up, and someone inside, reportedly, fired about seven shots into the vehicle. In another example, someone shot into a home, killing 1-year-old Zykier Young as the child slept in his crib.

According to the Gun Violence Archives, Carmelo’s name counts among 271 children between the ages of 0 and 11 whose lives were lost this year to gun violence as of Dec. 8. And many, like the 2-year-old shot in the foot this week in Montgomery County, occurred due to negligence involving leaving a weapon unattended and accessible to a child.

Guns protect but they also kill and innocent children should not become the victims.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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