12-year-old’s death shines light on crime rates in Aiken community

Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 6:31 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The drive-by shooting death of a 12-year-old over the weekend has police saying it was not a random attack. Authorities confirmed Monday that his home was targeted.

Community leaders are saying: Enough is enough.

“Calling the police and letting them know something isn’t right because too many young people and grandchildren are leaving this world right now.”

A bullet hit and killed 12-year-old Edward “Junior” F. McKenzie Jr. inside his Aiken home during a drive-by shooting on Saturday.

Sheila Hart used to teach Junior at North Aiken Elementary school and says, he was a respectful young man.

“I wouldn’t want my children to go before me. But there’s a lot of that happening now. But for this young child I know he could have gone far in life and he’s gone,” Hart said.

The Aiken Department of Public Safety confirmed Monday that it was not a random shooting, but that Junior’s house was deliberately targeted.

“A home is supposed to be their safe place,” Hart said.

The agency says it is making this case the top priority, devoting all available resources and time.

Meanwhile, the Boys and Girls Club of Aiken says shootings like these are happening too often.

“I feel like crime over the past few weeks has definitely gone up,” Samantha Cheatham of the Boys and Girls Club said.

But the Aiken Department of Public Safety says there have been no previous calls to that area since 2017, and the agency is currently working on a project to answer the questions about crime rates in the county.

“I know it’s tearing his momma and his daddy up right now,” Cheatham said.

The community hurts for this family, and it’s clear Junior’s death has shaken a lot of people.

“If I could talk to the family right now, I would tell them I am so sorry, and if there’s anything I can do, get in touch with us and we’ll help you to the fullest,” Cheatham said.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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