Drive-by killings destroy Fort Worth neighborhood’s sense of safety

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FORT WORTH — Most of the time, 5-year-old Rayshard Scott has been sprinting from door to door, looking for neighbors to play tag or hide and seek.

On Sunday, Rayshard was playing outside when gunfire ripped through his northern Fort Worth neighborhood.

Rayshard and a 17-year-old boy, Jamarrien Monroe, were killed in the drive-by shooting. An 18-month-old child was injured but is expected to recover. Police have not released a description of the shooters or described a potential motive.

Neighbors were grappling with the staggering violence on Monday and several parents said they would no longer allow their children to play in their front yards. Terrified, some kept their children home from school.

“They were just kids,” said Amber Kurtz, who lives across from the boys and has two children, ages 2 and 11. “They were too young to die.”

The shooting is one of several homicides in Fort Worth over the weekend, pushing the number of homicides in 2022 to one more than the same time last year despite a new violent crime strategy, according to the police.

“We want to assure our community that we are working diligently to bring those responsible to justice through the criminal justice system, and we are working tirelessly to make Fort Worth the safest major city in the United States,” police said. in a statement Monday.

Residents described the neighborhood, Quarter Horse Estates, as safe and quiet. Most of the homes were built within the last two or three years, attracting young families looking for affordability and a sense of community.

On Monday, the neighborhood was quiet except for the occasional news truck. A Citizens on Patrol neighborhood watch truck drove around the block.

A poster was left on the doorstep of the Fort Worth home on Monday August 29, 2022, where a drive-by shooting the day before injured three children and left a 5-year-old and 17-year-old dead. Rayshard Scott, the 5-year-old who was playing outside at the time of the shooting, is remembered by the neighbor’s son as being funny, the poster says. “I will pray for you every day, mom to mom,” he said. Flowers, a teddy bear and a few Hot Wheels toys are strewn near and under the poster.(Liesbeth Powers/Staff Photographer)

Ruben Reyes, who lives a few houses from the house where the shooting happened, said he was home on Sunday when he heard a barrage of gunfire.

Reyes ran outside, where he heard a woman screaming, “Someone shot my baby. Call 911.”

In the garage, he found Rayshard lying face down. Using one hand to stop the bleeding, Reyes whispered to the boy.

“God loves you. Jesus is with you,” he remembers saying over and over again. “Stay strong. Just keep breathing.”

Rayshard, who started kindergarten this month, was pronounced dead Sunday afternoon at Cook Children’s Medical Center.

Jamarrien, who neighbors say entered the house after being shot, was pronounced dead around the same time at John Peter Smith Hospital.

On Monday, Reyes said he was devastated and unable to sleep. Still, he said he didn’t feel in danger.

“It’s a safe place,” he said. “It was an isolated incident.”

Outside the house where the shooting occurred, bullet holes were visible on the garage door.

A white sign was leaning against the front door of the house with the words “Love your neighbour” and “We are here for you”. In lowercase letters: “Rest in love Kings”.

Next to the sign are a teddy bear, pink roses and two matchbox cars.

As he walked his 8-year-old daughter, Believe, home from school, Boss Ndosimau said the shooting shattered his family’s sense of security.

“Kids usually play outside all day,” Ndosimau said, pointing to the block. “But I think everything will change.”

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