MILWAUKEE — The death of a 1-year-old child is being investigated as a homicide. Alonzo Lamar, Junior or A.J. as his family called him died Wednesday night. The death is sparking a renewed focus by the city to alert parents and families to the resources to keep kids safe.
A.J.'s mother spoke off-camera to TODAY'S TMJ4. She said she left her son in the care of an adult to go to work. When she was called home, A.J. was bruised, battered and had already passed away.
"A 1-year-old. It's just un-explainable," said April Moore, a supporter of the family.
Friends of the family are shocked the 13-month-old boy is dead. The man who was watching A.J. is now being questioned by police. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's office is investigating the death as a homicide.
"I feel real sad just a horrible situation," said Mark Grant who lives in the neighborhood.
Reggie Moore, the director the Office of Violence Prevention, said his office is reaching out to the family. The city is also trying to spread the word about free resources for parents who need it.
"We do want to encourage families to reach out to groups like the Parenting Network and others who provide classes and support to families who may be in need of support and services," said Moore.
The Parenting Network offers services like free parenting classes and confidential coaching through a parent helpline at 414-671-0566.
Moore also encourages neighbors and other community members to support parents who may be struggling in hopes A.J.'s death will be the last child killed in the city this year.
"We lost several children to violence in our city last year. And we want to ensure that we don't repeat that going into 2020. So we hope that this death, unfortunately is a warning cry out to the community," said Moore.
If you or someone you know is caring for a child and is at a breaking point, there is help 24/7. The Sojourner Family Peace Center has been designated the 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline for the City of Milwaukee. You can call 414-933-2722.
The Sojourner Family Peace Center said its domestic violence hotline is in place to where someone can call into and talk about that stress before there is violence.