Last night was yet another bloody one in the Windy City, where 13 people—including a three-year-old child—were shot at a pick-up basketball game in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. The Tribune with the details from the scene:
Witnesses told police a gray sedan pulled up to the park around 10:15 p.m. and two men started firing in the 1800 block of West 51st Street. “I think it was like an AK,” said one neighbor. “Man, it was a lot of shots. Man, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. A little boy got hit in the face.”
Another neighbor said he was across the park from the basketball court when he heard as many as 20 shots. “I was across the park and I heard the shots and I came over and there was a lot of people down. It happened so fast. They were just playing ball, like they do everyday.” …
Ambulances continued to arrive a half hour after the shootings as wounded people were brought out of the park on stretchers. About 60 police officers converged on the park and crime lab investigators combed the scene. By about 12:30 a.m. Friday, firefighters used hoses to clean blood from the basketball court.
Remarkably, there were no immediate fatalities. The victim who was injured the worst appears to be a three-year-old boy named Deonta’ Howard, who was said to be shot near the ear, with the bullet exiting through his cheek. He remains in critical condition at a local hospital. Two other teens—a 15-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl—were also reportedly among the wounded. The other victims ranged in age from 21 to 41.
So far the police have declined to discuss details of the ongoing investigation and it remains unclear whether there was more than one gunman. Several eye-witnesses, however, have suggested that the shooting was likely gang-related. “They’ve been coming round here looking for people to shoot every night, just gang-banging stuff,” Julian Harris, Deonta’s uncle, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s what they do.”
Chicago officials have previously trumpeted the fact that overall violence in their city is technically down this year compared to last year, when the number of homicides topped 500 for the first time since 2008. Still, as the Associated Press notes, the latest shooting comes less than a month after a violent Labor Day weekend that ended with eight dead and 20 others injured. Thursday’s mass shooting at the basketball court wasn’t even Chicago’s only gun violence last night: The Sun-Times reports that two men were killed and another nine people injured at the hands of guns throughout the city.