WASHINGTON — The night after Sandy Hook, a gunman pulled behind a car in Kansas City’s east side and opened fire, striking 4-year-old Aydan Perea in the head. The boy had just gotten into his father’s car.
“He was innocent and he was just lifeless,” said the first bystander to reach Aydan. “All my life I’ve never seen nothing so devastating. I’m unable to eat, I’m unable to sleep because I see this baby in my head.”
It was not the pre-schooler’s first brush with gun violence. A year earlier, a gunman fired a shotgun at the house where Aydan had been staying. No one was injured, but bullets shattered a front window and riddled a parked car. This week, days after the drive-by shooting, doctors declared the boy brain dead.
Aydan’s mother said her world has “stopped.”
In the week following the Sandy Hook massacre, a body was found inside a vacant house, at a car wash, in a bodega. They were discovered on a bike trail, in a backyard, inside the front office of a motel, in an idling Chevy pickup. They were the 67th murder in their city and the 88th and the 124th.
All had one thing in common: the murder weapon. All died from gunshots. Shots to the head. Multiples to the chest. And so on.
This week, as mourners gathered in Newtown, Conn., to bury Sandy Hook Elementary’s dead, and a nation renewed its debate over guns, the shootings did not stop. The Huffington Post spent the week tracking gun-related homicides and accidents throughout the U.S., logging more than 100 from Google and Nexis searches. This is by no means a definitive tally. In 2010, there were more than twice that many homicides alone in an average week.
There were murder-suicides. One was shot in the face while sleeping, a baby sound asleep in a crib nearby. One was a grandmother on her way home from a store.
On Saturday afternoon, a 3-year-old in Guthrie, Okla., died after accidentally shooting himself in the head with a gun he found inside his aunt and uncle’s house. His uncle is an Oklahoma state trooper.
“Nobody should have to go through something like that,” a resident said during a candlelight vigil for the boy. An aunt at the vigil said, “We are all so close to him. My brother here visited him three times a week and my mom babysat him twice a week.”
Paul Sampleton Jr., 14, was bound and shot in his Gwinnett County, Ga., townhome on Wednesday afternoon. His father found him in the kitchen. Police suspect a robbery motive.
“He was smiling, listening to music,” a friend recalled to a local reporter. “He got on his bus, I got on mine. We were all happy.”
A 20-year-old man shot and killed Veronica Soto, a young mother of two, in an apparent road rage incident on Thursday. Soto and her husband had gone out to a nearby Jack in the Box in the Houston area when they became involved in a confrontation with drivers in two other cars. The accused killer Mark Trevino, and the victim’s husband pulled guns.
“Investigators said Mark Trevino came to a stop, ran into his home on Addicks-Clodine, grabbed a rifle and started shooting. Soto was shot in the head. Her husband also pulled out his gun. ‘They started shooting back and forth and the bullet went through the windshield, hit her and went out the back windshield,’ said Matthew Soto, the victim’s brother-in-law,” reported a Houston television station.
The station continued: “Soto’s distraught husband drove to his sister-in-law’s house on Las Brisas near Plaza Libre for help, but it was too late. The mother collapsed and died at the scene.”
Soto had two daughters, ages 7 and 14. She just turned 30.
In Georgetown, Ohio, a 71-year-old man was arrested on Sunday after shooting his adult son John Louderback in the chest. The sheriff’s office said the man called 911 and confessed.
Ramona Foreman was found shot in the doorway of the Oakland, Calif., 92nd Avenue Head Start office. The 48-year-old and her sister were walking home from a store when shots rang out. Foreman had been the innocent victim of a drive-by shooting. The victim’s stepdaughter told a reporter that her grandmother was the 13th person she knows killed this year.
Deputy Sheriff Christopher Parsons, 31, worked the early-morning shift on Saturday, when he took an emergency call to assist an unconscious woman at a trailer park in Mineral Point, Mo. As he helped place the woman in the ambulance, her son came out of the mobile home and fired a rifle, killing Parsons.
The deputy had been on the police force for two months. “He had so completely figured things out and had worked so hard,” his mother told a reporter.
On Sunday in New Orleans, three people were shot and killed, including 18-year-old Lawrence Burt, 56-year-old Vivian Snyder, and a 56-year-old Jefferson Parish taxi driver Joseph Wilfred, who was shot behind the wheel. According to an account, he’d been on the job for about three weeks.
That same afternoon, 25-year-old Krystal Garcia Nacoa was allegedly shot to deathby her husband, Leonardo Nacoa, 26, at their Porterville, Calif., home. Police found the husband’s cell phone number and called it multiple times, until the man finally picked up. He admitted that he had fled across the border to Mexico. Police were able to get Nacoa to surrender.
His three young children were inside the home at the time of the shooting and weren’t physically hurt.
Mark Hanrahan, Melissa Jeltsen, Alana Horowitz, Benjamin Hart, and Adam Goldberg contributed reporting.