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Toddler Dies After Road-Rage Gunfire Hits Car, Little Rock Police Say

Police in Little Rock are looking for a man they believe shot and killed a 3-year-old boy who was riding in a car driven by his grandmother Saturday night, in an apparent case of road rage. The boy is the second toddler to die in a car-related shooting in the city in the past month.

"The grandma and 3 year old victim are innocent and have no relationship w/ the suspect," the Little Rock Police Department said in a tweet early Sunday. The department has asked the local community to help find the suspect in the case, who's described as a tall black man driving an older black Chevrolet Impala.

Police believe the man "opened fire on the grandmother's car because he thought she 'wasn't moving fast enough,' " according to a report on member station KUAR's website. The grandmother had been taking the boy and another child, 1, on a shopping trip.

Citing a police report on the shooting, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette says the grandmother's name is Kim King-Macon, and that she told officers the shooting occurred after she had stopped her Dodge Charger at a red light in southwest Little Rock. From the Democrat-Gazette:

"King-Macon told police a black Chevrolet Impala pulled up behind her while she was stopped at a traffic light and honked its horn, the report said, noting King-Macon then honked back.

" 'Ms. King-Macon stated that a black male then exited [the Impala] and fired one shot,' the report said, adding King-Macon then drove to the shopping center and found the boy had been shot when she got him out of the vehicle."

Discussing the case in the parking lot outside a JC Penny store where officers had converged on King-Macon's car, Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner said, "This is the second time in less than a month that an infant child has been shot while traveling in a vehicle in our city. As you can probably understand, that's very, very frustrating to our police agency, as it should be to our community."

That earlier shooting, of a 2-year-old girl on Nov. 22, remains an open investigation despite a $20,000 reward for information that results in an arrest and conviction of those responsible.

Members of the local community say they're planning a news conference at Mercy Church in southwest Little Rock, to support the boy's family and promote the Stop The Violence movement.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.