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'Beyond heartbreaking' | Toledo mourns another child lost in drive-by shooting

A 7-month-old girl was shot and killed Wednesday night in a west Toledo drive-by shooting, just two months after the shooting death of 10-year-old Damia Ezell.

TOLEDO, Ohio — A 7-month-old girl was killed in a drive-by shooting in west Toledo Wednesday.

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz called it a "new low" for the city. 

He said the drive-by style of the shooting strongly suggests that gangs are responsible, and he’s tired of seeing children get caught in the crosshairs of criminal violence.

"It’s not fair. Whether it’s the 10-year-old back in February or the 7-month-old last night, that a young person loses her life because of the bad decisions made by the grown ups in her life," Kapszukiewicz said Thursday.

The incident occurred on Jackman and Hillcrest as 20-year-old Jeremiah Hughes was in the car with his 7-month-old daughter, Desire Hughes.

He told police that someone shot into his car at around 8 p.m.

Jeremiah Hughes was grazed by a bullet and was later released from the hospital. But, Desire was shot in the chest. She later died from those injuries.

Kapszukiewicz said incidents like this are indicative of a larger issue, claiming that other than domestic violence, every homicide this year has been gang or drug related.

He said Thursday he plans to increase targeted police raids in neighborhoods. He believes that's what is helping keep this year's homicide numbers lower than in 2021. 

As of April 28, there have been 13 homicides in the city, compared to 20 at this time last year.

RELATED: 7-month-old girl killed in west Toledo drive-by shooting; police seeking information on suspects

"You should expect them to happen all through out the year, and in every neighborhood," Kapszukiewicz said.

Sgt. Adam Fish with the Toledo Police Department said it is still too early in the investigation to say if the shooting was drug or gang-related. But, he said that Desire's death has sent shockwaves through the precinct. 

"Oh, it’s huge. I mean if it doesn’t strike you, if it doesn’t hit you at home, then I don’t know how you don’t have any feeling for anything. It’s a huge loss, not just for the department, but for the community," Fish said.

 Fish said police have little information at this point, with no suspects and scant evidence. He said they want to bring Desire to justice, but they need the community’s help more than ever to solve the case. 

"With anything like this, no matter how small or big you think it is, we need that information. For police-community relations to work, we need help from the community and this is a huge one," Fish said.

Kapszukiewicz said there are 270,000 people living in the city, but claimed that just about 50 people are involved in the city's cycle of violence and retaliation that's been claiming lives.

If you know have any information, you are asked to call or text Crime Stoppers at 419-255-1111. You may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.

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