LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Metro Police Department says a 12-year-old girl, shot and killed Friday afternoon in southwest Louisville, was targeted. But investigators say they have good leads on a suspect.

The shooting happened just after 4:45 p.m. on Elane Drive, just east of Cane Run Road, according to MetroSafe.

"Children dying, being shot. We shouldn't even be having this conversation. It's sickening," LMPD Chief Erika Shields said at the scene of the shooting. "It's a heavy heart coming out here. We had a 12-year-old shot, maybe seven days ago."

The shooting marked the sixth homicide in the first 12 days of February, coming off of the deadliest January on record, with the city seeing 24 total homicides so far in 2021. 

"The first step is clearly to step up our efforts and get these guns off the street. We just have to," Shields said. 

At the current rate, someone is being killed more than every other day in Louisville, something LMPD's new police chief calls "heartbreaking."

"We just have too many children getting shot and it's heartbreaking," she said. "And we have to reign it in."

In Louisville, and nationwide, more young people are involved in gun violence during the pandemic.

"They have nothing to do. The schools aren't open. The Boys and Girls Clubs aren't open. It's just an abundance of downtime," Shields said. "And you throw into that the proliferation of illegal weapons that we're dealing with, this is what you get. We have to change and that includes LMPD. We simply have to get these illegal guns off the street."

Police say the shooter did know the 12-year-old girl, but there's no word yet on a motive as to why someone would kill someone so young.

"It's sad, because it's just ... this is a child, you know? They had their whole life in front of them and we're burying another child. And so something ... something in the equation has to change," Shields said.

LMPD has not yet released any details on any arrests. 

This story has been updated after WDRB News learned from Christopher 2X  that the girl was 12 years old, just days away from her 13th birthday. The Louisville Metro Police Department told WDRB News on Friday that she was 13 years old. 

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