Kaari Thompson was at the Brooklyn Food Market, a grocery store in Pittsburgh, in the US state of Pennsylvania, when the shooting took place, with the authorities now hunting for the perpetrators.
The young girl’s mother, who has not been named, was also injured, with the pair being taken to hospital.
Police responded to the incident on Thursday evening, on 1st December, with Assistant Chief Lavonnie Bickerstaff of the Pittsburgh police Department saying: “I am very touched by this tragic situation that occurred yesterday and this 4-year-old baby won’t be able to enjoy the holiday season like any other girl would do.”
A local who lived near where the shooting occurred and who has been named in local media as Derek Scott said: “We need to talk to our children. We need to talk to the youth. We need to talk to them and tell them to put the drugs and guns down.”
It is currently unclear if Kaari’s mother was actively targeted, But the police asked parents to be involved with their children and monitor their activities on social media to avoid them using guns.
Assistant Chief Bickerstaff said: “Be aware of what your children are doing because in doing so, you could save your child’s life and a child that is dear to you.”
There had been no news of any arrests at the time of writing, with the police saying that the “shooters fled in unknown directions”.
They have urged the public to help and to contact them with any information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects.
Pittsburgh Police Zone 5 Commander Stephen Vinansky said: “Anybody that saw or heard anything, anybody that has information that they’re hearing… we’re asking and pleading with anybody to come forward and share that with us.”
A fundraiser started on GoFundMe for Kaari by Heather Thompson, the young girl’s aunt, that had raised over USD 14,000 out of a USD 15,000 goal at the time of writing, read: “A Thursday evening no family wants to experience. On December 1, 2022 Kaari Thompson was tragically murdered at the tender age of 4.
“Her mother is in the hospital in critical condition fighting for her life. We started this go-fund-me to help ease the financial burden of funeral costs. If able, please help in this time of need as we greatly appreciate it.”
Kaari’s grandfather Kirk Thompson told local media during a vigil on Sunday: “In four years, she gave me more joy than most people can get in 40 years.”
The Pittsburgh Public Schools also issued a statement saying: “With deep sadness, we report the tragic loss of Pittsburgh Lincoln Early Childhood student Kaari Thompson, who was killed yesterday in Lincoln-Lemington. Kaari will be remembered as a very loving child, always smiling and passing out hugs.
“She enjoyed playing in the classroom’s housekeeping section and making pretend food for everyone. She was very bright and an absolute joy to have in class. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”