Shock, disbelief follows shooting death of 5-year-old

Neighbor: Shooter ‘in the same category as a terrorist.’

Help sought

Anyone with information about the shooting death of 5-year-old Maleki Parker or anyone who saw anything Saturday night that could help in the police investigation is asked to call the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center at 937-225-4557 or provide an anonymous tip through Miami Valley Crime Stoppers at 937-222-STOP or 800-637-5735.

Shock and fear washed over East Bruce Avenue in Dayton on Tuesday as the family of a 5-year-old boy shot to death in the living room of his home struggled to find resources to pay for his funeral.

At least 10 bullets were fired from the street, striking the house at 44 E. Bruce and fatally injuring Maleki Parker. He died at 6:10 p.m. Monday, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. Maleki’s family earlier had asked that he be removed from life support.

Dayton police have not released any new details on the investigation, but a police report filed indicates officers confiscated ammunition, handguns, clothing and drug paraphernalia as part of the investigation.

“It’s a high priority and they are working it,” Dayton Police spokeswoman Cara Zinski-Neace said.

Tiffany Walker, Maleki’s mother, said she has cried for the past three days and wore a shirt stained with her son’s blood for two of those days. She said she did not remove the clothes until her son died.

Maleki leaves behind a twin brother, a 3-year-old sister and an 8-year-old brother.

“They told me that my son was — he was brain dead — they did all the tests that they could,” Walker said. “I could put light in his eyes and see if he reacts to it. I could touch the bottom of his foot and see if it jumps. Nothing worked. I checked over and over and over and over and over again. That baby’s heart was beating — his heart was beating — and I felt his lungs, until he left me.”

Pastor Christopher L. Heard, who lives a block away from the home, said he often saw Maleki riding his bicycle on the street.

Neighbors are baffled about what could have prompted the shooting, he said.

“We all stood out talking the other day, trying to figure out what went on,” Heard said. “It’s a tragedy to us. It’s like we all lost a son.”

Neatly numbered bullet holes were visible in the vinyl siding at 44 East Bruce, where a child’s blue swing hung from the porch.

Donna Walker, Maleki’s great grandmother, was at the house Tuesday to retrieve clothes for the family of the boy, his mother and three siblings.

“We’re trying to get the money for the funeral,” she said.

Like other family members, she said she has no idea what could have prompted the gunfire. “I’m trying to keep calm and get through this,” she said.

The shooting was reported shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday when police were dispatched to the residence on a report of multiple shots fired.

People were sitting in the living room when the gunfire hit, Dayton Sgt. Andrew Zecchini said over the weekend. The boy was hit once and taken initially to Good Samaritan Hospital. He was later transferred to Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Greta Parks, 57, lives next door to the house where Maleki was shot.

“I think it’s a low-down dirty shame,” she said.

Her grandchildren played with the boy, she said.

“Whoever did this, I put them in the same category as a terrorist. My heart goes out to that baby,” Parks said. “It’s just an awful thing to happen.”

A funeral funding effort has been launched at It had raised $2,600 of a $10,000 goal as a Tuesday evening.

Two neighbors Tuesday worried about being identified by the shooters and spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

“I’m not surprised or shocked with everything that’s going on,” said one 63-year-old resident who lives within sight of the house.

“I don’t know what to think,” said a 30-year-old who has lived in the neighborhood for several years. “I heard the gunshots. I heard six shots, almost on top of each other, and at first I thought it was fireworks. I’m not used to this at all.”

Heard, the pastor, said he plans a fundraiser for the family at the Breakthrough Anointed Ministries Redemption Center International, or BAM Redemption Center, 926 Conners St., on Monday.

Marlon Shackelford, a community activist with Omega Street Advocates, said the death of the 4-year-old is more typical of a larger city than Dayton.

“It reminds me of what happens in Chicago, not Dayton,” he said. “We need to do more, and put more into the community, especially with our young men. We want to carry book bags, not body bags.”

Residents organized a Walk to End the Violence for Tuesday evening at East Bruce Avenue and North Main Street.

“Anytime we have a child that dies from gun violence is a sad day for our community, and we have to keep working on this issue,” Mayor Nan Whaley said.

WHIO-TV Reporter Layron Livingston contributed to this report.

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