Home / National News / Chicago 8-Year-Old Speaks Out for Slain Boy: 'He Didn't Even Go to 2nd Grade'


(CHICAGO) — The violent holiday weekend in Chicago didn’t get past one 8-year-old, who urged people to “put the guns down” in the wake of the city’s deadly shootings.

ABC News station WLS-TV in Chicago said 8-year-old TJ Donald asked one of its reporters whether she knew a 7-year-old had been shot.

“He didn’t even go to second-grade,” TJ said of the slain 7-year-old boy he didn’t seem to know personally. “He didn’t grow up to be a grown-up.”

Dozens of people were shot in Chicago over the 4th of July weekend, including the 7-year-old boy who died while celebrating with his family. It was one of many incidents that police Superintendent Garry McCarthy called the result of a broken system.

TJ and his younger brother are attending Chicago’s Safe Haven summer program, according to WLS-TV, a free summer program at churches and community centers.

But the precocious 8-year-old is clearly aware of the problems facing his community outside the church and community center walls.

“People need to learn to put the guns down,” TJ told WLS-TV. “Put them down.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Monday reiterated his demands for gun law reform, calling on legislators and adults to fight for change.

“You have too many guns on the streets, too many people using those guns, and too little values,” Emanuel said.

“You have gangbangers, without any sense of moral remorse or responsibility, shooting into a playground or shooting into a front yard,” he added, “as if it’s a personal shooting gallery.”

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