Reporting Holly Wagner
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A community is reeling over the death of a 5-year-old boy, who was shot and killed while asleep on the couch Tuesday morning.
Nizzel George was at his grandmother’s home in north Minneapolis when someone fired a reported 10 shots into the living room.
Nizzel was two months away from his sixth birthday and about to enter first grade.
On Wednesday, people continued to leave flowers, balloons and stuffed animals outside of the home where he died, which is located near the intersection of 45th and Bryant avenues.
The community is planning a vigil in memory of Nizzel on Saturday.
Ron Bailey, who lives across the street from where Nizzel was killed, said the soon-to-be first grader was a casualty in a careless fight.
“He’s just a good little soldier,” he said. “He didn’t do anything to anybody.”
Bailey recalled the shooting and said the gunshots sounded like firecrackers.
“When I looked out, I just saw somebody running down the street,” he said.
Bailey said he saw the shooter run off, and moments later, Nizzel’s grandmother came over, screaming for help.
After Bailey called 911, he said a prayer.
“To take care of that little guy,” he said. “You know, because no one can take care of him now.”
Bailey, a Korean War veteran, has lived in the Camden neighborhood for more than 30 years. He says he has a lot of good neighbors, but he’s troubled over the increasing number of shootings and other crimes.
“Part of it is drugs,” he said. “I’ve seen ‘em right here in front of my house, making a deal.”
As for the home where Nizzel suffered the fatal wound, Bailey has also seen activity there. And so have police. Officers have been to the home six times this year for various reasons.
After Nizzel’s death, Bailey said his son and his 6-year-old grandson will not visiting him at his home anymore. Bailey can see why.
“I wouldn’t want them to be in harm’s way,” he said. “You can see what a bullet will do.”
Police have increased patrols in the Camden neighborhood, residents said. They report seeing officers drive down the street every 20 minutes or so.
In north Minneapolis, just last week, there were two shootings, and the ShotSpotter, which detects gunshots, was activated about 75 times.
Minneapolis police have questioned several people in regards to Nizzel’s death and are working leads they’ve gotten from the community. Investigators believe the shooting stemmed from a feud between two families.
So far, no one has come forward with enough information for police to make an arrest.