A 7-Year-Old Chicago Boy Was Fatally Struck by a Stray Bullet. Now, a 16-Year-Old Is Charged with Murder

Jai'mani Amir Rivera, 7, loved football and Spiderman

<p>GoFundMe</p> Jai


Jai'mani Amir Rivera

The 7-year-old boy did not immediately die when he was struck in the chest by a stray bullet at 3:02 p.m. Tuesday, June 18.

Chicago police officers rushed the first-grader to the hospital in their squad car, but “his injuries were too severe,” Superintendent Larry Snelling said at a recent press conference.

Jai'mani Amir Rivera was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital.

A 16-year-old is now charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree murder by personally discharging a firearm that proximately caused the death of the victim and two issuance of warrants, according to the charge release obtained by PEOPLE.

“Jamani’s life was taken from him. For what?” Snelling said at the press conference announcing the charges. “There’s no excuse for this violence. It’s unacceptable that we have Chicagoans losing their lives. It's absolutely maddening, heartbreaking that innocent children are dying in their city. Parents should not have to bury their children.”

In the two days after the shooting, detectives collected video evidence depicting a teenager  “approaching on foot before he stops and opens fire, striking Jai'mani,” Antoinette Ursitti, chief of the detective division, said at the press conference.

Additional video showed his movements before and after the shooting, according to Ursitti, who said that officers in the 12th district allegedly recognized the teen’s face from previous interactions with him. Another person also made an anonymous call through the tip-line, identifying the teenager.

Within 48 hours of the shooting, the Chicago Police Department and the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested the 16-year-old, who is reportedly being charged as an adult but whose name police have not disclosed because he is a minor.

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The teen had an active warrant for his arrest for alleged failure to appear in court on an unrelated arrest, according to Ursitti. An allegedly stolen weapon – which had not been involved in the June 18 shooting – was also recovered at the scene of arrest.

The teenager was slated for his first court hearing at George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse on Saturday, June 22.

PEOPLE called the courthouse to determine if the teen had entered a plea, the date of his next hearing, as well as the defense lawyer representing him, but multiple calls went unanswered.

PEOPLE also contacted the Cook’s County State’s Attorney’s Office by phone and email. The office did not respond with additional information on the case.

On a GoFundMe set up by Jai'mani’s aunt, Lucila Berrios, to cover funeral expenses, the 7-year-old was described as a kid who loved Spiderman and was looking forward to playing football in the fall.

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