‘This should’ve never happened’: St. Paul family calls for answers after accidental shooting of 12-year-old boy
There were words of anguish Saturday from the family of Markee Jones.
The 12-year-old was fatally shot during what was supposed to be a birthday celebration weekend.
“I love my nephews, I love them like they’re my son,” declared Martez Hill, Markee’s uncle. “We are shook, we are devastated, we are beyond angry. We also want justice; we want all of that.”
St. Paul Police say they were called to the 200 block of Stinson Street, West just before 5 a.m. Saturday morning.
Officers responding to a call of a juvenile male shot found Markee with a gunshot wound.
He was transported to Regions Hospital, where he died.
“My nephews and his brothers and his cousins were playing with a gun,” Hill said.
He explained to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that Saturday was his son’s birthday, with fourteen kids inside the house.
The youngsters, Hill says, were supposed to go go-karting.
But family members say someone they know placed a gun inside their home, without their knowledge.
“Why would he bring a gun into my sister’s house?” asked one family member. “That’s not right.”
Hill says two boys started playing with the firearm, and it went off.
Markee was shot.
His family, still numb, is trying to come to terms with the loss of one of their youngest.
“I hope this brings a lot of attention to people who have firearms,” said Lakrisha Hill, Markee’s aunt. “To make sure you keep your gun safely locked away and kids are curious, and now I have a nephew to bury because of somebody else’s mistake.”
Police say a 14-year-old is now in custody, on suspicion of manslaughter.
The teen is being held at the Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center.
While police have not shared any details about what led up to the shooting, the family is calling for the gun owner to surrender.
“We want transparency, and we want accountability,” said Brother Nasay Nasar X, a Black Panthers spokesperson. “We want the individual whose gun it was to turn himself into us or to law enforcement. It’s right to turn yourself in because this is the negligence of a firearm around children.”
One family member says in recent weeks, there was a discussion among the adults in the group about being careful with guns around children.
“This should’ve never happened,” Hill said. “This was not the day for that. This should’ve never happened to my nephew.”
This is the 22nd homicide of 2023 in St. Paul.