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Crime & Justice

Police: 7-Year-Old Shot To Death In Hickory While Riding In Car With Mom

hpd chief.JPG
Hickory Police Department
Hickory Police Chief Thurman Whisnant provides an update Thursday after a 7-year-old was shot and killed in the city Wednesday night.

Updated 12:46 p.m.

Hickory police say a 7-year-old was shot and killed while riding in a car with his mother and siblings Wednesday night. Officers said Thursday they're investigating whether the shooting was a case of road rage.

"This was a senseless act of violence," Chief Thurman Whisnant said Thursday, adding that officers are working hard to "bring justice to the coward who did this."

Officers responding to a 911 call about a shooting into a vehicle around 11 p.m. arrived to find Zakylen Greylen Harris with a gunshot wound to the neck, Hickory police said in a news release.

Zakylen Greylen Harris
Hickory Police Department
Zakylen Greylen Harris, 7, was shot to death while riding in a car with his mother Wednesday night in Hickory, police said.

The child was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Two other children were in the vehicle at the time of the shooting. Neither was injured. Video taken from a traffic camera that police showed Thursday shows the car with the children merging into a street while a second car speeds up behind it.

The mother told police she unintentionally cut the second car off and later heard a white woman yelling at her from the front passenger seat. She then saw a muzzle flash from the car where she reported the woman yelling from and heard glass break. Police say the mother believes someone reached around the woman in the passenger seat and fired the gun. She pulled over and saw her son had been shot, Hickory police said.

Police say they think only a single shot was fired, but as of Thursday morning, they had not recovered any shell casings. All three children were in the back seat at the time of the shooting.

Police described the suspect vehicle as a small, dark-colored SUV, possibly with multiple occupants. They're looking for other cameras along the street, Tate Boulevard, that may have captured footage of the incident or the suspects' vehicle.

The news came one day after another child — an infant — was shot and wounded in Shelby. Both cities are in the broader Charlotte metro area. In that case, WSOC-TV reported the 8-month-old girl was shot around 10 p.m. Tuesday inside a home.

“The mother says they were in bed together,” Shelby Police Lt. Scott Champion told the TV station. “She was holding the baby at the time the shots rang out and the baby was struck.”

Police said the girl, who had a bullet lodged in a lung, was flown to a children's hospital in Charlotte.

Separately, in Charlotte, police on Wednesday said half of all reported road rage incidents so far in 2021 have involved firearms.

Hickory police are asking anyone with information on the shooting to call 828-328-5551.

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