BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Battle Creek police are asking for the public’s help to find the person who killed a 2-year-old in a drive-by shooting early Tuesday.
The child was identified as Kai Rowan Turner.
“This is an innocent child, a 2-year-old that is now longer with us,” Battle Creek Police Department Deputy Chief Shannon Bagley told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “We would hope that we would get someone to call and give us some information that would shed some more light on this and point us in the right direction so we can bring justice to this young child and his family.”
The shooting happened around 2:20 a.m. on Cliff Street near Douglas Street, east of Main Street. BCPD says a dark-colored SUV drove by and someone inside fired into a house. Officers called to the scene found Kai injured and started first aid. He was taken to the hospital, where he died early in the afternoon.
There were “multiple, multiple” shots fired, Bagley said, though he would not provide a specific number. Neighbors told News 8 they heard at least nine shots and News 8 counted 10 marked holes outside the first floor. Another bullet hole was visible on a window on the second floor.
Multiple families live in the house, which is split up into apartments. BCPD says Kai’s family was not believed to be the intended target, though investigators were not immediately entirely certain who was — it wasn’t clear whether the shooter fired at the wrong house or whether another person in the house may have been the target.
“I’m not sure what you say in a situation like this,” Bagley said. “(Kai’s family) were doing nothing wrong. … I don’t know how you plan for this. There’s nothing that they could have done that would have changed the behavior of someone that resulted in the death of an innocent child. So it’s absolutely horrendous.”
He did say the shooting is not believed to have been random:
“This was definitely something specific. Someone was looking for someone for some type of retribution or payback or there’s some beef or argument going on,” he said.
There have been several drive-by shootings in the area over the last few months, neighbors said.
Bagley said police were reviewing surveillance video “from various sources” to learn more and called on the community to help find the shooter.
“I’m not saying that we’re getting all the cooperation that we should be or could be receiving, which would help us immensely in this situation, but some of these things just take time,” Bagley said. “There are other avenues which we are pursuing, which we hope to bear fruit in the not-too-distant future. But this is going to be one that we’re going to be extremely methodical moving forward with and that we’re going to need some participation from the community to help us out here.”
Anyone with information about the shooting or who was in the area at the time is asked to call BCPD at 269.781.0911 or Silent Observer at 269.964.3888.
Neighbors planned to hold a vigil for Kai outside his house Tuesday evening.
Bagley said Battle Creek has recorded six homicides so far in 2022. Kai was the youngest victim. Three of the killings were committed by the victim’s intimate partner, he said.
—News 8’s Byron Tollefson contributed to this report.