A 12-year-old at Bearden Middle School was shot and killed in a gang-related shooting in Knoxville Saturday night, according to police.
Jajuan Hubert Latham was struck in the head by a gunshot while sitting in the back of his father's SUV at Danny Mayfield park just before 10 p.m.
The father was not injured in the shooting.
During a press conference Sunday, Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch condemned the recent gang-related violence.
"The violence has got to stop, this can't go on. We do not need to bury anymore children," Rausch said. "It's my gang is better than your gang. That makes no sense to me.They're cowards. A coward shoots blindly at a crowd."
Rausch fought to hold back tears during the conference.
"Love your children. You don't know when they're going to be gone," he said.
Latham is a cousin of Zaevion Dobson, who was killed in a gang-related shooting in December.
The shooting happened just hours after the Bobby Maze celebrity basketball game, which was put on to honor the life of Dobson.
"We now have two children, in a short period of time, four months," Rausch said. "We have two children dead. They were innocent."
According to the preliminary investigation, a gathering by a large number of people was being held at Mayfield Park when shooting erupted between the party attendees, and occupants of two vehicles that were driving by the park. Multiple shell casings of various caliber weapons were recovered at the scene.
Rausch sent out a stern warning to anyone involved in a gang.
"If you're a member of a gang, we're going after you. We're going to find you. We're going to bring you in. If you have done something illegal you are going to jail. We are going to see if we can get you as much time as we can" Rausch said.
Mayor Madeline Rogero also spoke on Sunday.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the family. We know that everything we do depends on the support of the community," she said.
Rogero urged the community to remember there are viable ways to target and help prevent gang violence.
"[We can be] preventing violence by giving young boys of color opportunities for success. Obviously, it's not easy. There are still too many people we haven't reached that are still in that [gang] life," Rogero said.
Counselors will be on hand at Bearden Middle School on Monday.
Rausch made a plea to the community, "The plea is to help us resolve this."
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the Knoxville Police Department at (865)215-7212.
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