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8-year-old boy killed after being shot in car, Halifax police say

Click to play video: 'Halifax police search for 2 suspects in fatal shooting of 8-year-old boy'
Halifax police search for 2 suspects in fatal shooting of 8-year-old boy
A community is reeling after a young boy was shot and killed in Dartmouth on Tuesday. Police are now searching for two suspects. As Alicia Draus reports, there’s a plea to the public for any information related to the shooting – Dec 22, 2021

Halifax Regional Police have identified the young victim of a recent shooting in Dartmouth and are pleading with the public for any information.

Const. John MacLeod told reporters during a news conference Wednesday that the victim was identified as eight-year-old Lee-Marion Cain.

“Yesterday’s tragic incident has affected many in our community,” he said.

“We want the public to know that we’re making every effort possible to further this investigation, and that our thoughts are with the family during this tragic loss.”

Click to play video: 'Halifax police search for 2 suspects in fatal shooting of 8-year-old boy'
Halifax police search for 2 suspects in fatal shooting of 8-year-old boy
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MacLeod said officers were called to the area of Windmill Road and Waddell Avenue around 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

He said shots were fired at a vehicle, hitting Cain and a 26-year-old man who was with him. Cain was taken to hospital, where he died from his injuries. The man was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

He said the medical examiner’s office has ruled the boy’s death a homicide.

MacLeod said the suspects are described as two Black men driving a burgundy SUV, possibly a Chevrolet, with tinted windows. He would not say if the vehicles were moving at the time, citing the ongoing investigation.

He also did not say what the relationship was between Cain and the 26-year-old man.

While there have been other shootings in Dartmouth recently, MacLeod said there is no evidence suggesting that this case is connected to any others. However, he said officers are looking at “all avenues.” He added that police do not believe it was a random incident.

He said police will leave “no stone unturned” and is appealing to the public for information.

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In a tweet, anti-violence activist Quentrel Provo said the boy was his cousin, who was “full of love and life.”

“Heartbroken beyond words,” he wrote.

‘A gun killed an innocent child’

Colter Simmonds, a cousin of the boy’s father, told The Canadian Press that Cain often went by his nickname “MarMar” in the community of North Preston, outside Halifax.

“I’m feeling shock and disbelief …. We’re family. We’re a close family,” Simmonds said in a telephone interview.

“When an 8-year-old gets shot, there has to be questions and there has to be answers. He was pure and innocent, had a beautiful smile and was smart and witty. It is a bright future taken away.

It’s senseless,” he added.

Angela Simmonds, the MLA for Preston, said the community is heartbroken over the loss of the child.

The tragedy carries a personal connection for her as well – Cain was related to her husband.

“This is, unfortunately, family,” she told Global News. “Immediately, you kind of take all your work hats off and you go into community support and family support.”

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She said Cain attended Nelson Whynder Elementary School in North Preston, and expressed sadness for his friends who won’t get to see him again when they return after the holiday break.

Simmonds said some community members plan to put candles in their windows Wednesday night to honour his memory, and plans are in the works to hold an online vigil during COVID-19 restrictions.

“We as a community need to find a way to support one another and grieve openly, and have prayer,” she said.

She said the tragedy points to the need to confront the issue of gun violence on the streets.

“Too many times this has happened in our communities, and moms are grieving, and we, collectively as a community, need to be able to speak up,” said Simmonds.

“A gun killed an innocent child, and so we need to talk about educating people around gun violence.”

She said there are local organizations which are already doing this work, and said they need more funding from the government.

“There’s a lot of community and grassroots folks who are doing this work every day and are on the ground and can support people,” she said.

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‘A tough Christmas’

In an interview Wednesday, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said he was extremely saddened by the news of Cain’s death.

“It makes me feel very physically ill and so disheartened to see a young life snuffed out for no reason,” he said. “It’s just really really tough, I know, for everybody to comprehend.”

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said the community is ready to ‘put their arms around’ the grieving family. Callum Smith/Global News

He is encouraging anyone with information to contact the police.

Savage said the community was already going through a difficult time during the pandemic and the child’s death is another blow.

“It’s a tough Christmas … there’s just a lot of sadness,” he said.

“To the family, I just offer my deepest sympathies, and prayers, and best wishes. And I know that the whole community wants to put their arms around this family and provide support.”

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— with files from The Canadian Press

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