13 wounded in Chicago shooting

Police say 13 people shot in a South Side park, believe attack was gang related

Police say 13 people were shot in a park on Chicago's South Side Thursday night, including one child. Five others were shot earlier in the day, one fatally, at various locations in the city.
Paul Beaty/AP

Chicago police said 13 people were shot in a park on the city’s South Side on Thursday night in an attack believed to be gang related.

The victims include a 3-year-old boy who was shot in the cheek and is in critical condition, police said. According to ABC, the child is out of surgery.

The shooting happened late Thursday shortly after 10 pm in the city's Back of the Yard neighborhood and left two other victims in critical condition as well. The remaining victims were reportedly in serious or fair condition.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the 3-year-old's name is Deonta "Tay-man" Howard.

"They hit the light pole next to me, but I ducked down and ran into the house," the boy's uncle, Julian Harris, 22, told The Chicago Sun-Times. "They've been coming around here looking for people to shoot every night -- just gang-banging stuff. It's what they do."

The Rev. Corey Brooks, a pastor at New Beginnings Church, spoke with family members outside the hospital and said the boy was resting with his mother.

"He was talking when they first brought him in, but he's heavily sedated now," he said.

"They say he's good," said Semecha Nunn, one of Deonta's grandmothers.

"They're going to have to do a little plastic surgery on him, but he's OK."

Among the 13 victims were at least two other minors, ages 15 and 17.

Five other shootings took place earlier in the day across the city, including one fatal one. 

The South Side gunman walked through a park gate and opened fire, police told Al Jazeera. Ten ambulances responded to the scene, and most of the victims were taken to local hospitals. One victim was believed to have driven himself to a hospital, and police confirmed that one of those shot had reached the hospital without the assistance of authorities. 

Police officials declined to discuss details of the investigation. Ron Gaines, a department spokesman, said that no arrests had been made and that victims were being interviewed to determine the circumstances surrounding the attack.

Deonta's aunt, Kailynn Jordan, told reporters he was playing basketball in the park when the shooting happened.

His grandmother Tracy Gautreax urged the shooter to turn himself in, telling a reporter, "God sees all."

"I'm just asking that everybody pray that this violence just stops. It's too many kids getting hurt out here," said Gautreaux.

Violence trend

Chicago has had more than 1,600 shooting incidents in 2013, and the city has been grappling with a high rate of violent crime in recent years.

The shooting comes nearly three weeks after Chicago saw an outburst of violence over the Labor Day weekend that ended with eight dead and 20 others injured.

After a surge in homicides and shootings last year, the police department stepped up its crime-fighting efforts by, among other things, paying overtime to add patrols to some neighborhoods, including the Back of the Yards.

The city has been hit hard by violent crime in recent years, with more than 500 murders in 2012, according to a report this week by the FBI.

By comparison, New York City -- which has a population three times Chicago's -- recorded 419 murders in 2012, the FBI said.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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