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Community prays for 11-year-old shot in Buffalo

Posted at 11:33 PM, Jun 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-01 20:39:56-04

Dozens of community members came out Thursday night to pray for 11-year-old Juan Rodriguez.

The young boy was shot in the head Wednesday night during what police say was a gang-related shooting. Young Rodriguez was caught in the crossfire.

"He's a good kid, and it's so unfortunate what happened to him. It pains my heart," said Rhodesia Jackson, Juan's 6th grade math teacher.

Jackson says Juan was her star student, and was the first to arrive at school and last to leave.

Jackson was just one of many people who attended a prayer vigil at the spot where Juan was shot on Humason ave in Buffalo. The group, which included many of Buffalo's peacekeeping groups chanted "save our children" while walking through the neighborhood.

Police say the shooting was targeted and gang related. The other 20-year-old man who was hit is also at ECMC fighting for his life.

"My baby got shot," said Sonia Pagan, Juan's mother. "He opened up the door, and my baby got shot in the head."

His mother says Juan was protecting his sister by trying to get her inside when the gunfire erupted.

"There are innocent people getting shot," said Jackie Sager, who attended the vigil. "An 11 year-old minding his business at his front door."

Sager is outraged over the gun violence, and believes the community needs to work alongside police to stop it.

"Keep our community in prayer. Prayer works. That I know."