A 2-year-old boy was shot to death Sunday in a neighborhood near Interstate 25 and South Academy Boulevard, just south of Colorado Springs.

The shooting was reported about 5:20 p.m. in a small, unnamed cul-de-sac of four duplexes in the 1500 block of Hartford Street, said Jacqueline Kirby, spokeswoman for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. The boy died at a hospital.

Randy Hays, who lives in a nearby unit, said he heard screams and saw the boy’s mother run out of her home, carrying her child.

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“She was holding him, screaming, ‘My baby, my baby,’” Hays said Monday, still visibly shaken. Many neighbors were outside at the time, enjoying the warm weather, he said.

He said the horrific scene was especially difficult for him because he has two daughters, ages 3 and 6.

“I ain’t sleep pretty much all last night,” Hays said. “I don’t think nobody in the cul-de-sac has. They shut it down. They treated it as if it was a crime scene. They didn’t let nobody in or out until late.”

Hays said he would occasionally babysit the boy, who had two older brothers.

“The kid was a good kid,” he said. “Smart little kid.”

Kirby said officials still are investigating how the boy was shot.

“It’s absolutely tragic,” Kirby told Gazette news partner KKTV on Sunday night. “We’ve got a 2-year-old (victim). But any shooting we will investigate the same way. We will interview all the witnesses, canvass the neighborhood, talk to the neighbors and piece together what happened here.”

Ellie is a general assignment reporter. She's a proud Midwesterner, stationery hoarder and Earl Grey tea enthusiast. After interning at The Gazette in 2015, she joined the newspaper's staff in 2016.

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