FOX 32 NEWS - Facebook video showing a young child brandishing what appears to be a handgun on Chicago’s South Side is raising new concerns about kids and guns.
The video shows three young boys walking at a shopping center at 63rd and Halsted. A driver is heard taunting the boys, telling one of them to show him his gun. The youngster eventually does so.
The video has surfaced at the same time Chicago police say a boy as young as 6 years old is a suspect in an armed robbery in another Chicago neighborhood.
The manager of a restaurant at the shopping center on Halsted says the boys often stop in, asking for food, and she's worried the one with the gun might kill someone or get himself killed.
“For one, I’m scared, because at this point, he's a kid, so if he has this gun, someone gave it to him, he's trying to prove a point, so he may hurt anyone,” said restaurant manager Whitney Holmes.
Experts say youngsters at this age are often looking for role models, and in too many cases the only ones available are teenaged gang members and drug dealers.
“Young people want to be like their older counterparts. They look up to them, they look up to adolescents and young adults who give them some guidance,” said Loyola University professor Arthur Lurigio.
Lurigio is a professor of psychology and criminal justice. He says the Facebook video shows the boy is being applauded for carrying the weapon and has probably already joined a gang.
“Most gangs do have sects made up of younger people. They’re called the peewees. They’re the minor leagues of the gangs, and they're youngsters from eight to adolescence,” Lurigio said.
Chicago police say detectives are looking at several videos to determine if the youngster in the Facebook posting could be connected to any crimes.