A 9-year-old boy is fatally shot in Milwaukee, Wisconsin: 'It should not have happened'

A 9-year-old boy was shot and killed in his Milwaukee, Wisconsin home early Thursday morning, police said.

The shooting happened just after midnight at a local condominium complex, the Milwaukee Police Department said in a news release.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, part of USA TODAY Network, the Medical Examiner's office identified the boy as Jonael Zambrano, a student at Greater Holy Temple Christian Academy.

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The child was in his room when the gunfire started, report says

Zambrano was inside his room with his sister and cousin when shots rang off, WISN reported. His family confirmed that he was struck in the head.

The boy was initially taken to a hospital in critical condition before he was declared dead there, police said.

"He was a nice boy," his mother told the outlet, adding that she believes the shooters targeted the wrong home. "They confused the apartment. I don't know."

She continued, "I just hope justice is made because I don't owe anyone anything. I don't have problems with anyone. I just want justice."

The family is seeking donations to cover funeral and medical expenses.

'It should not have happened,' mayor says

Speaking at a press conference on an unrelated matter, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said he was notified about the shooting around 2:30 a.m. and right away communicated with police and personnel with the Office of Community Wellness and Safety.

"I don't know all the details surrounding it, but what I do know is that it should not have happened," Johnson said. "There's no how, no way, that a kid ... on the night of the last day of school, before summer break, should have lost his life because somebody decided to shoot a gun.

"It's a challenge that we continue to ... address here in this community."

Residents of the Woodlands Condos told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel they heard multiple shots then contacted police. They also complained that crime in the complex has become a growing issue in the years since the local homeowners association did away with its security guards.

Milwaukee police continue to search for unknown suspects, and an investigation is ongoing, the police said.

Officials speak out on recent gun violence in the area

Larresa Taylor said Jonael's death is the second gun-related death this year to occur in Milwaukee's 9th Aldermanic District, the area she represents on the Common Council.

"Far too many young people have been subject to gun violence," Taylor said in a statement. "It is infuriating because all gun related deaths are avoidable, and it is incumbent upon us to do better to ensure our children are not in harm’s way.

"Our children must know that our community cares about them, and wants them to thrive."

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 414-935-7360 or, to remain anonymous, contact crime stoppers at 414-224-Tips or P3 Tips.

There have been 51 homicides reported in the city of Milwaukee so far in 2024, compared with 65 reported during the same period last year, according to Milwaukee police statistics.

The Thursday morning shooting follows other recent shootings of children in Milwaukee in the last month.

On May 31, 10-year-old Isdennyeliz Ortiz was shot while sleeping in her bed by a bullet that was shot through an upper-level unit, her sister told the Journal Sentinel. Ortiz’s cousin was charged with second-degree reckless homicide, according to a criminal complaint.

On May 17, 15-year-olds Alejandro Sanchez and Monroe Weso were shot. 15-year-old, Christopher N. Scott, has since been charged in their deaths.

Last year, 147 victims younger than 18 were injured or killed in shootings in Milwaukee, according to a Medical College of Wisconsin database.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 9-year-old boy fatally shot at Milwaukee, Wisconsin home, police say