ST. LOUIS — An anonymous tipline is offering $25,000 rewards over the next week for information leading to arrests in the recent shooting deaths of young children in the city.
City officials announced the offer Saturday, a day after Jurnee Thompson, 8, was shot and killed outside a restaurant near Soldan High School.
Mayor Lyda Krewson said the rewards are only offered until Sept. 1 to urge tipsters to call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-8477 with what they know as soon as possible. The usual reward is up to $5,000 for helpful tips.
“This is urgent,” Krewson said at a news conference at St. Louis police headquarters. “Right now we hope we that we will be able to get information to police today, tomorrow, Monday.”
The reward money was donated by local philanthropists Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield. They “were particularly moved and concerned about the homicide and deaths of the youngsters in our community,” said Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards.
Edwards pleaded for the public’s help. “If you or someone else you know may be hiding a shooter, please turn them in,” Edwards said. “Your failure to turn in people that have committed these type of offenses may also cause you to be charged with a crime.”
The latest shooting happened Friday night after fights broke out at a football exhibition at Soldan.
For the rewards, St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden listed her case and three other unsolved murders involving children ages 10 and younger:
• Kayden Johnson, 2, who was killed with his mother on April 30 as they hid from intruders in a hallway closet in their home in the 5900 block of Ferris Avenue.
• Kennedi Powell, 3, shot June 9 as she stood eating pizza on a sidewalk in front of her home in the 4600 block of Michigan Avenue.
• Eddie Hill IV, 10, shot from a passing vehicle July 19 as stood with his family on the front porch of his home in the 4700 block of Page Boulevard.
Jurnee was fatally shot about 8 p.m. Friday outside Harold’s Chop Suey, a restaurant two blocks north of Soldan, shortly after football games at the school ended with fights breaking out among the crowds.
Two 16-year-old boys and a 64-year-old woman were also shot, police said in a report released Saturday. The boys were seriously wounded; they and the woman were listed in stable condition Saturday at a hospital.
Jurnee was at Soldan watching games with her family, police said. Fights broke out among the crowds as people were exiting the stadium.
An officer at the school called at 7:17 p.m. for backup in dispersing the fights, and police from the surrounding area responded, police said. The officers were dispersing the crowds shortly after 8 p.m. when several gunshots were heard just north of the school.
Responding officers found Jurnee and the three other shooting victims in the parking lot of Harold’s Chop Suey in the 1100 block of Union Boulevard, police said. Jurnee was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.
“Little Jurnee Thompson was shot to death as she stood in front of a restaurant with family members awaiting their food order,” Hayden said. She and at least two others she was with were cousins, he added.
Jurnee was a student at Herzog Elementary School, said Meredith Pierce, a spokeswoman for St. Louis Public Schools. The two 16-year-old boys are students at McKinley High School.
Counselors will be at the schools help support students, St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams said Saturday. Earlier in the day, he attended a funeral for Xavier Usanga, 7, who was fatally shot Aug. 12, a day before he was to start school at Clay Elementary. A man being held on other charges has admitted to the shooting, according to court documents.
“The challenges the Usanga family have been going through the last 12 days, that’s going to be repeated for yet another family,” Adams said. “I don’t know that there are words to explain how difficult it is for the families that are hurting, and the impact this has on the community.”
The police chief said shortly after the shooting Friday that detectives took an undisclosed number of people into custody after the shooting for questioning, and he pleaded for the public’s assistance in the investigation.
The CrimeStoppers tipline is answered 24 hours a day. The information is passed on to police anonymously. Tips can also be left online at stlrcs.org.
St. Louis homicide detectives can also be called directly at 314-444-5371.
“It cannot be that people are more concerned about what will happen to them if they come forward with the police,” Hayden said. “It’s what will happen to little children if you don’t.”
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Mayor Lyda Krewson said the rewards are only offered until Sept. 1 to urge tipsters to call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-8477 with what they kno…
The shooting occurred about a block north of Soldan High School, where a football exhibition was held Friday night. Fights broke out at the ev…
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