St. Louis’s fatal child shootings started in April. With mounting unsolved cases and waning investigations, authorities on Saturday announced $100,000 in rewards for information leading to arrests of those responsible for the most recent deaths.

The killings began earlier in the year with a 2-year-old and his mother fatally shot in their home. Weeks later, gunfire killed a 3-year-old standing on her neighborhood sidewalk. Then, a 10-year-old was shot dead on his porch.

The death toll ramped up as summer began. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, at least a dozen children have been fatally shot in the city since April.

Earlier this month, Xavier Usanga, 7, days away from beginning second grade, was shot and killed, and Jurnee Thompson, 8, was fatally shot Friday night after attending a high school’s football jamboree with her family.

Thompson’s death prompted action from Mayor Lyda Krewson. On Saturday, she announced $25,000 for leads to help find the child’s killer.

Rewards also were offered in the cases of Kayden Johnson, 2; Kennedi Powell, 3; and Eddie Hill, 8, all of whom were killed between April and July, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John W. Hayden Jr. said. The money — totaling $100,000 — will be available until Sept 1.

FBI statistics rank St. Louis among the most violent U.S. cities; it has maintained one of the highest homicide rates in the nation for several years. In 2018, St. Louis recorded 186 killings. As of Sunday, the city’s total for 2019 was 128.

According to a Washington Post analysis of homicide arrest data, of the 1,677 homicides in St. Louis from 2007 to 2017, 54 percent did not result in an arrest.

“We need information from the public to help us bring these shooters to justice,” Krewson said at Saturday’s news conference. “We are all at risk if these suspects remain on the street.”

But instead of tips, over the weekend the police department received word of new child deaths by gun violence: a 10-year-old girl killed Saturday night and a 15-year-old boy shot dead early Sunday.

Read more