At least 9 people, including two girls — ages nine and 1-month – were injured Thursday in a pair of shootings on Chicago’s South Side, raising concerns ahead of the routinely violent Fourth of July weekend, according to reports.
“It’s not the holiday weekend yet and people started shooting and the next thing you know, there’s a child shot and it’s a mother’s worst nightmare,” Pastor Donovan Price told Chicago’s WMAQ-TV.
Chicago police said the 1-month-old girl was struck in the head after three males jumped out of a black Jeep Cherokee around 8:15 p.m. in the city’s Englewood neighborhood and “began shooting in several directions.”
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The trio then hopped back in the vehicle and left the scene. No one was in custody.
The baby was shot while still strapped in a car seat, police spokesman Tom Ahern told the Chicago Sun-Times. She was taken to a local area hospital in critical condition before being transferred to Comer Children’s Hospital.
A group of people held a prayer circle at the hospital, as an SUV parked near the entrance was riddled with at least three bullet holes, the paper reported.
“The baby’s shot and they want the shooter to either come forward or somebody to turn them in,” community activist Andrew Holmes told the Sun-Times.
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The incident occurred less than six hours after another girl, 9, was wounded in a shooting that also injured a man, 61, near the border of the Grand Crossing and Chatham neighborhoods, reports said. Police said they were in the 800 block of East 79th Street when another approached and someone inside opened fire about 2:45 p.m. No arrests were reported.
Relatives of the girl, identified as Mikyla James, also gathered at Comer Children’s Hospital on Thursday, WMAQ-TV reported.
“The family should be looking forward to getting together for holiday festivities, but instead they’re getting together at the emergency room,” Price said.
On Thursday, officials said that the city will implement “a whole government approach” to combatting violence over the Fourth of July weekend, according to the station.
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“We had a 10-year low in violence on Memorial Day weekend, we’re gonna ride that down until the wheels fall off,” Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said. “We want to keep having 10-year lows of violence when we use a strategy – until we have to adjust for some unforeseen thing happening.”