YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On Friday, we learned that a body found in a wooded area off of North Truesdale Avenue in Youngstown is that of missing teen Landon Lockhart. His death is being investigated as a homicide.
The tragic death brings many to wonder how a 14-year-old boy pictured in a swimming pool with a smile on his face could have met such a violent death? Sadly, that outcome is not uncommon.
In 2020, juveniles accounted for 8% of all murder victims in the U.S., according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Of those deaths, 26% were female, 55% were Black and 66% were killed with a firearm. Of the juvenile murder victims where the offender is known, 43% were killed by family members, 44% by acquaintances and 13% by strangers.
Between 2011 and 2020, juvenile offenders participated in nearly one of every five homicides involving other juveniles; and in nearly three of every 10 juvenile homicides, an adult was involved, according to the national data.
In over 90% of teen homicides, a gun was the weapon, followed by a knife.
If there is any positive news to take away from the bleak numbers is that teen homicides have decreased over time. Between 1980 and 2020, teen homicides peaked in 1993 at 2,840. That number is down 37% in 2020 to 1,777.