CLEVELAND - As the murder trial for the man accused of killing a 3-year-old Cuyahoga County boy begins, the most recently available data shows the homicide rate for children under one reached a 10-year-high.
Monday, jury selection is slated to begin in the trial for Donnell Lindsey.
Authorities allege Lindsey killed Major Howard while shooting into a vehicle, near 3400 East 113th St. on September 15, 2015.
The boy was shot in the chest and later died at MetroHealth Medical Center.
The same year, Howard was killed, data from the Cuyahoga County Child Fatality Report indicates four infants died because of homicide in 2015. That was the highest number in this age group in the last ten years.
Four between the ages of 1 and 9 also died because of homicide. But the worst year for kids in this group was 2009, when 11 died because of homicide.
Homicides did drop to the fifth-leading cause of death for kids in 2015 in Cuyahoga County.
The report indicates the numbers for 2016 will become available November 2017.
Howard’s grandfather Victor Freeman remembers the day. It’s one, of course, he can never forget. “I got the call… dad… Major’s been shot,” Freeman told WKYC's Hilary Golston.
Freeman was riding a motorcycle and just reacted. “I dropped the bike on the ground and just started hollering where… where is he at.”
The family is looking for closure and justice for a “spunky” child gone too soon. “I do want somebody to pay for it... because I pay for it every day... my family pays for it every day.”
In each case involving the death of small kids in a matter of weeks in 2015, investigators believe the shooters were aiming for someone else, but the children were caught in the crossfire.
5-year-old Ramon Burnett was shot in a drive-by, in broad daylight September 4, 2015 while playing outside.
5-month-old Aavielle Wakefield was shot while strapped into her car seat, October 1, 2015.
“Don’t just reach your hand out of a car and start shooting and not know what you’re shooting at,” Freeman said. “It shouldn’t have happened.”