Family begs for end to Rockford gun violence after 15-year-old murdered

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Three days into the new year, both family and city officials voiced what they hope to see change in the “Forest City.”

The largest concern is crime, specifically involving children.

“I would just ask people to put the guns down, find better ways to deal with conflict,” said Koliza Lee.

This was the plea from the family of 15-year-old Malah’ki Lee, who was shot and killed just days before Thanksgiving.

“He had completed his school day, caught the bus home, got off at his regular stop and was basically ambushed,” Lee said.

Lee, Malah’ki’s aunt, said that having to plan a funeral for a 15-year-old is something that she would not wish on anyone.

“It’s not just a newspaper article,” Lee said. “He had a mother, he had a father, a grandmother, aunts, uncles, siblings.”

“You just see the violence that’s taking place and how its wreaking havoc on families lives and has really torn people apart, and you have to do something about it,” added Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara.

Just days into the new year, one of McNamara’s goals is to focus on childhood trauma in 2022, keeping kids away from crime.

“If we can impact childhood trauma and really wrap our arms and services and care for these young kids, we can have them be better in school, we can have them not turn to a life of violence,” McNamara said.

However, Lee is asking for justice. Not just for Malah’ki, but for all victims.

“Justice for the Lee family looks like an arrest, a conviction, and I think what needs to happen is these criminals need to be held accountable,” Lee said.

Three-year-old Kameron of Rockford was shot and killed on Wednesday evening. He was rushed to the hospital, where his mother said that she fell asleep holding his hand. When she woke up, she was told that he had not made it. Two men are charged in connection to the three-year-old’s death, 19-year-old London Banks and 18-year-old Coreyeon Young.

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