The fatal shooting of a six-year-old boy by police gunfire in the US state of Texas has sparked outrage and renewed the debate over police brutality in the country.
Kameron Prescott was killed on Thursday in the small town of Schertz in Bexar County, after a stray bullet shot by a sheriff’s deputy pierced through the wall of his mobile home and hit his abdomen.
A suspected car thief – a 30-year-old woman identified as Amanda Lee Jones – was also killed by police as she tried to break into Prescott’s home.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar described Prescott’s death as “a tragic accident” and said the shooting is under investigation.
The incident is the latest in a series of deaths at the hands of police officers in the US.
A total of 952 people have been shot and killed by US police in 2017, according to the Washington Post’s Fatal Force database.
Victims of police brutality are often children.
In May, police officers in a Dallas suburb shot and killed Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old black American, for “aggressively reversing” towards them. Video footage later contradicted the officials’ claims.
Gun violence and fatal police encounters have led to widespread protests in recent years.
Following news of Prescott’s shooting, many took to Twitter to condemn his death, which came just days before Christmas.
— a (@sillyjensen) December 23, 2017
#KameronPrescott should be alive today.
— deray (@deray) December 23, 2017
Meanwhile, others criticised the US police force and called for reform.
You cannot claim there is no problem in the institution when a child, a six year old purely innocent CHILD just got murdered by police. Accident or not, there needs to be justice and improvement #KameronPrescott
— Laura (@lauhhra) December 23, 2017
I will not stop tweeting #KameronPrescott until justice is done. He did not die in vein. Police reform NOW!
— Nicole Goodwin (@stormy1025) December 23, 2017
A crowdfunding campaign was launched on Gofundme to pay for Prescott’s funeral. A total of $13,736 was raised in two days, exceeding the goal of $12,000.
According to the Guardian newspaper’s The Counted database, at least 1,092 people were killed by police in the US in 2016.
Of that total, nearly a quarter were African Americans, although the group only accounts for roughly 12 percent of the total US population.
In a high-profile case in 2016, the aftermath of the shooting of black motorist Philando Castile by a Minnesota officer was streamed live on Facebook.
The killing of another black man, Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by white police led to a wave of protests across the country.