CHICAGO (AP) — A 3-year-old girl was shot and wounded while playing with other children in the front yard of a home on Chicago’s South Side — the latest in a spate of child shootings in the city.
The girl’s mother ran outside and found her daughter on the ground after a relative heard what was believed to be fireworks about 8 p.m. Tuesday. She was listed in serious but stable condition at a hospital following surgery.
Police said the shooting came minutes after a 15-year-old boy was wounded a few blocks away, according to the Chicago Tribune.
They are the latest in a string of shootings of children in Chicago in recent weeks, including a toddler who was struck by a bullet while riding in a car with his mother and a 10-year-old girl who was shot in the head by a stray bullet fired a block away while she was sitting in her home.
Police believe the shots that struck the 3-year-old girl Tuesday came from a vehicle.
“We were sitting on the porch and then these cars started flying by and started shooting, so we jumped up and ran in the house,” neighbor Hattie King told WLS-TV.
Descriptions of the suspects or vehicles were not immediately released by police.
“This is not, and this cannot be our new normal,” said Fred Waller, police chief of operations. “These are our babies being shot. Randomly. Recklessly.”
Community activist Andrew Holmes said a doctor prayed at the hospital with the wounded girl’s family.
“The bright moment was when they came back out and told the family that she didn’t want anyone to touch or take out her earrings,” Holmes said. “That was a spark to the grandmother, to the whole family, indicating that she was well and alert.”
Police Superintendent David Brown said Monday that he plans to flood city streets with additional officers during the long July 4 weekend.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she supports Brown’s strategy for this weekend, but she also encouraged community leaders and residents to play a role in stemming the violence.
“I need the moms on the block, I need the block club presidents, I need the members of the faith community, I need the people doing street intervention and I need families — I need families — to do their part as well,” Lightfoot told reporters Wednesday. “This won’t get solved without a holistic, all-hands-on-deck approach.”