Residents of Indian Mound Neighborhood tired of violence against children

KANSAS CITY -- A 5-year-old boy wounded in a drive-by shooting Tuesday night has people in the Indian Mound neighborhood redoubling their efforts to protect children.

Family identified the 5-year-old as Joel. They say he was playing with his tablet on the side of his bed when he was shot.

Family identified the 5-year-old as Joel. They say he was playing with his tablet on the side of his bed when he was shot.

Following a string of shootings last year related mostly to children, neighbors have worked to make their park safer.

Neighbors are encouraged to hear good news about the latest shooting victim. A cousin tells FOX 4 News 5-year-old Joel is able to walk after being shot in the rear end. The bullet passed through his body, and the family says he's in good condition.

But a year ago at this time, neighbors were mourning the death of another 5-year-old boy, Jesse, shot and killed by his own mother as she argued with her boyfriend. Lisa Marie Hall was charged with second-degree murder. According to court records, witnesses told police that Hall and her boyfriend were drinking and had been arguing in a bedroom. A witness reported hearing a gunshot, and the mother ran from the bedroom carrying the child. Hall’s boyfriend told police that she was sitting on the bed and her son was standing next to him. He said Hall pulled the gun from her waist and fired at him, and Hall’s son fell to the floor.

Hall's son, Jesse

Hall's son, Jesse

In response to the violence, members of the Indian Mound Neighborhood Association have brought more activities to Budd Park specifically for children, and have crime cameras installed to make the area safer.

Neighbors say that strategy seemed to be working, but also say they must continue to do more.

"There’s an opportunity for us to go in and say what can we do to help you," said Manny Abarca, vice president of the group. "We know there’s been a lot of violence with gun related incidents in this area south of Budd Park. We know specifically with that block there have been multiple drive-by shootings over the years. We need to figure out what we can do to stop that."

Members says neighbors helping neighbors has made the area safer.

Following the death of the 5-year-old last year, Abarca says it took his group nearly a year to work out issues in that one household.

Indian Mound also has activated its crime watch program in response to the drive-by shooting, with block captains in the neighborhood on the lookout for the vehicle witnesses have described.