CHICAGO — A 3-year-old girl is recovering after being shot Tuesday night in Englewood — the fourth toddler shot in Chicago in 10 days.
The girl was playing with family members in a yard near 70th Street and Damen Avenue around 8 p.m. when someone in a car fired shots and hit her, police said.
The toddler was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital in “critical but stable condition,” said Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.
The girl, who recently celebrated her birthday, was playing in front of her home with family when her mother mistook the sound of gunfire for fireworks, anti-violence activist Andrew Holmes said while standing outside the hospital Tuesday.
“She turned around and noticed her loved one was laying down, and it wasn’t fireworks,” Holmes said.
Ninety minutes after the incident, the girl was taken into surgery, Holmes said. She was “alert and talking,” he said.
“She asked the doctors and the nurses not to touch her earrings,” Holmes said. “It brought smiles to her mother, to her father and to her grandmother. They knew then and there that she was fighting.”
Several bullet casings were found on the street at the crime scene, which extended several blocks along Damen Avenue from 71st Place north across 69th Street.
Police officers there said someone fired shots from a car and hit the girl. The gunman also fired several shots as he sped off in what police described as a maroon Toyota with tinted windows and a broken tail light.
Casings were found as far as 69th Street and Damen Avenue — about four blocks from where the girl was shot. It did not appear the gunman shot anyone else, but a van parked on the 7000 block of South Damen Avenue had a rear window broken.
Police were investigating if the girl’s shooting was related to another shooting that happened about 30 minutes earlier just three blocks away in the 7100 block of South Honore Street.
In that shooting, a 15-year-old boy was hit in his calf and buttocks. He was taken to Comer’s Children’s Hospital and was in good condition, police said.
A block away from where the girl was shot, four generations of a family sat outside on their front porch. The family, which did not want to use their name, said they have lived at the home for 50 years and have never seen violence as bad as over the last month.
“All the people we knew here left within the last two years, and the people who came have no respect for life,” one woman said. She said she has not allowed her kids to play at Drexel Park, just a half-block from her home, in “at least two years” because of the violence.
“This is crazy. I’m at a loss for words,” said 7th District Cmdr. Larry Snelling as he stood at the scene.
The Rev. Michael Pfleger, an activist priest from Saint Sabina Church in Auburn Gresham, said Tuesday the rash of young children being shot recently in Chicago is “unacceptable.” He fears it could become routine.
“When the killing of children is now becoming a norm we’ve lost our minds,” Pfleger said.
The girl is the fourth child age 3 or younger shot in Chicago in the last 10 days, with two of them dying.
On Saturday, 1-year-old Sincere Gaston was killed and his mother wounded when a person shot up the car the two were traveling in on their way home from a laundromat in Englewood.
On June 22, another 3-year-old girl was wounded when a bullet grazed her in Chicago Lawn. That girl, like the girl shot Tuesday, was playing outside when someone in a car opened fire.
And on June 20, 3-year-old Mekhi James was shot and killed in Austin when someone fired shots at his father’s car.
No arrests have been made in the cases and police are continuing to investigate and are asking the public for help. Anyone with information can submit an anonymous tip online.
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