Child Shot As Gunfire Erupts at Utica Vigil; Another Victim Says Shooter Was Santa Claus
A 12-year-old was shot in the face as nearly two dozen bullets were fired at a candlelight vigil held in Utica. It happened around 8:15 on Tuesday night on Columbia Street, Utica Police say.
WIBX 950 has learned the vigil was being held for the father of former Utica councilman Delvin Moody who recently passed away.
The child was struck in the face by an apparent stray bullet but is expected to survive. He's undergone emergency surgery to remove the bullet, which was lodged in his jaw.
Police also say that a 29-year-old man was located at Sunset and Oswego streets, shortly after they responded to the initial call to 911. This shooting victim was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, police say, and believe he was near the scene of the vigil when gunfire erupted. This shooting victim is also expected to survive however, in releasing a preliminary report on the incident, investigators are still trying to piece together information as they say the 29-year-old victim was ''extremely uncooperative", even telling officers at one point the he'd been shot by Santa Claus.
Moody, who resigned from council earlier this year, took to social media to say he was devastated by the disrespect and carelessness shown at his father's vigil, asking why anyone would shoot-up a vigil with innocent children present.
Utica Police say they recovered more than twenty (20) 9mm shell casings at the original scene on Columbia Street and say at least five vehicle were struck with gunfire. It is believed the 12-year-old and the adult male were the only two who were shot.
Police also shared this on Facebook, saying they need help in solving such cases:
It has been stated over and over that these cases are very difficult to solve without public cooperation, and while every case is given the utmost importance, those that involve innocent young victims add an additional layer of expedience to our investigators to find those responsible. Uncooperative victims and witnesses only harm our ability to bring justice for those harmed.
UPD officials say the case has been assigned to the Major Crimes Unit. Anyone with information is asked to call them at 315-223-3556.