MILWAUKEE — A staggering number of Milwaukee’s youth have been victims of gun violence this year. Police data shows 97 people ages 18 and younger have been shot in the city so far in 2022.
Police records show the number of kids shot this year in Milwaukee nearly doubles the amount from the same timeframe just two years ago. A parent of a shooting victim says his son will never be the same.
Devastating images show a 16-year-old from Milwaukee who’s fighting for his life at Children’s Wisconsin after being shot in the head.
"It's hard to deal with, it's very hard,” Kevin Simmons said. “Every time I sit down with my son and seeing him in the condition that he's in, it's hard. It's very hard."
Simmons says his son Malik got in a fist fight two weeks ago with another teen and someone showed up at their home with a gun hours later. Simmons says out of the several shots fired at the home, one struck Malik as he stood on the back doorstep.
"I just wish they had got to know my son and what type of person that he was,” Simmons said. “He's a sweet kid."
Milwaukee police say their investigation into the shooting is still active with no arrests to share at this time. Meanwhile, Simmons says Malik remains in a coma with significant brain damage.
“If he does survive, they're not sure if he'll be able to walk, talk or see and do the things Malik was used to doing,” he said.
Police data shows Malik is one of 81 people ages 18 and younger who have been injured in non-fatal shootings this year in Milwaukee. That’s 19 more than this time last year and nearly double the amount from 2020.
MPD records show another 16 people ages 18 and younger have been murdered this year. The troubling increase can be seen compared to previous years as well.
"You won't understand until you feel that type of pain,” Simmons said. “It's real hard. It's hard for me to sleep at night."
The Parenting Network on Milwaukee’s north-side provides free programming, counseling and resources to thousands of parents and caregivers each year.
“Parents will tell us they're very concerned about gun violence; they're concerned about violence in general and with the pandemic, it heightened the stress,” said executive director Joyce Felker.
Felker says more parents are coming to them feeling afraid and losing hope.
"What we get more often is the call, 'my teen is out of control, and I do not know what to do,’ and so for us, it's a matter of coming alongside them, doing coaching, talking about that individual child,” she said.
Felker says that coaching is all about strengthening families by helping parents learn the importance of showing their kids love, creating togetherness by having family meals at night, along with how to set rules, like where their kids are allowed to go and what time they need to be home.
"It is hard if you start doing these things when they're already 14, 15 and 16,” she said. “They're going to push back and so we need to start earlier, but it is never too late to provide some boundaries."
If you would like to help Malik and his family with medical bills, click here to find their fundraiser.