Two young children were among six people shot outside of a baby shower in Chicago, in what police are calling a gang-related attack.
As ABC News reported, a 10-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy were both wounded on Saturday in West Englewood. Local law enforcement said that two men wearing dark clothing approached the group that had just left a baby shower, and proceeded to open fire. The gunmen fled on foot, and police are still searching for the suspects.
Both the boy and girl were rushed to the hospital and had been listed in critical but stable condition. The boy was struck in the chest and back, while the girl was shot in the chin. Four other people were hurt, including a 29-year-old woman who was listed in critical condition.
The victims were not identified. Police are interviewing witnesses but said some of them were not cooperating with the investigation.
Authorities believe the shooting outside the baby shower was related to another incident earlier in the week, and that the gunmen were looking to retaliate for the earlier incident.
Richard Nix, whose grandson was holding the baby shower that had close to 20 children in attendance, said the shooting was a chaotic and frightening experience.
“We were trying to pick the kids up, get the kids out of the way … they were going to get crushed,” Nix told the Chicago Tribune. “It wasn’t nothing but kids in front of the house, sitting on the porch. They was just playing, and the shooting went off.”
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The shooting came amid a spate of violence across Chicago, with a sharp rise in both shootings and killings across the past few years. Many of these shootings remain unsolved, a phenomenon explored by author Alex Kotlowitz in his new book, An American Summer: Love and Death In Chicago. Kotlowitz noted that only one in 10 shooters are charged in Chicago, and there is a widespread distrust of police officers that has led to low levels of cooperation among witnesses. Others fear gang retaliation, believing that police are unable to protect witnesses from potential retribution.
It was not clear what caused the lack of cooperation after the baby shower shooting, though police appeared frustrated at the uncooperative witnesses after the shooting left several children seriously hurt.
The Chicago Police Department is asking for anyone with information on the shooting to send information at the department’s online tip line.