The group had gathered on the porch of a home in Dyersburg, Tenn., on Thursday to celebrate a 2-year-old's birthday with balloons, a birthday cake, and a highchair. Then shots rang out. Authorities say up to three assailants on foot opened fire on the party around 6:20pm Thursday, killing the mother of the 2-year-old and wounding six others, reports the State Gazette. Shanice Amerson, 21, was pronounced dead at the scene while two victims, including a 6-year-old boy, were airlifted to hospitals in Memphis, per ABC News and WMC. Others were being treated at a hospital in Dyersburg.
Neighbors suggest the shooting may have been gang-related, per Fox 13. Police say they have identified one person of interest, but no arrests have been made. "Innocent kids got hurt for no reason and I am scared to death that they haven't caught anyone," says a neighbor who assisted the victims at the scene, where a large poster of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck was hung. Police say they received a call about people flashing guns from one or two vehicles in the area in the hours before the shooting, but no guns were found during traffic stops. (Read more Tennessee stories.)