CHICAGO (WLS) -- The grieving family of 1-year-old Sincere Gaston, the victim of a Chicago shooting last month, and community leaders all say more needs to be done to stop violence in the city.
Sincere was laid to rest in a South Side church Monday, attended by friends and family dressed all in white.
"The most difficult thing to do for any parent is to bury a child," said Pastor Isaiah Miller, Jr., who is also Sincere's cousin. "These are heinous acts of gun violence even while a pandemic is going on."
Miller prepared to eulogize the toddler, who lost his life to senseless violence.
"What do you say when a mom and dad have to have a funeral for their 1-year-old son? What do you say? How do you console them?" he wondered.
The funeral comes on the heels of more violence over the 4th of July weekend. It was the third straight weekend a child was shot and killed in the city of Chicago.
Community members say the city needs a new game plan.
"I said we need to focus on Englewood, Lawndale and Austin, and look what happened," said Pastor Pervis Thomas of New Canaan Lane Missionary Baptist Church. "The cops come after the fact. You need to pre-plan. You have to put them on bikes like you do in the other areas."
On Saturday, 14-year-old Vernado Jones was shot and killed in the 6100-block of South Carpenters Street while watching what his mom said was a fireworks show for kids. He was struck in the back after police said four men walked up to the park and opened fire. Three other people were also killed.
His mother said Vernado was an extraordinary child, ambitious and smart, with plans to play basketball at Simeon High Schooll
Later Saturday, 7-year-old Natalie Wallace was struck in the head by a stray bullet while visiting her grandmother in the city's Austin neighborhood. One person is now charged in her murder, and three more suspects are being sought.
Community leaders are asking residents to step up and be the voice for these children taken too soon.
"If you do not speak out, these guys are going to feel like they're untouchable," Pastor Thomas said.