Mass shooting in Chicago latest in city's gun violence epidemic

(CBS News) CHICAGO -- The late-night shooting in Chicago that wounded 13 people Thursday was just one of a number of shootings overnight in a city that has been fighting an epidemic of gun violence.

Neighbors had gathered in a city park to watch a late-night basketball game, when gunfire sent them running for their lives. Police say suspected gang members opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle.

Chicago police investigate after gunmen opened fire on a basketball court at a park in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, wounding 13 people, including 3-year-old Deonta Howard Jr. (inset)
Scott Olson/Getty Images/ Inset photo supplied to CBS

Chicago police search for gunmen
Chicago park shooting leaves 13 wounded, including 3-year-old boy

While miraculously no one died, 13 people were wounded -- including three-year-old Deonta Howard, who was shot in the head but is expected to recover.

"He doing fine. He healthy. He breathing on his own," said Kailynn Jordan, the boy's aunt. "There's nothing wrong with him. The bullet didn't hit his brain. It just hit his cheek."

Children on bikes, scooters or just riding in cars with their parents have been shot this year. Eighteen of them -- 15 years old or younger -- were killed. And three of them were under 6.

Others have had to witness bloodshed up close. Deonta's uncle was shot to death in Chicago just two weeks ago.

"Yeah, people are becoming kind of used to the violence because it's happened so much and unexpectedly," said Angelo Boyd, an anti-violence activist. "It's not getting better in the community because nobody is standing up and sticking together, standing for what's right.

The Southwest Side neighborhood has been under siege from heavily armed gangs for years.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, center, speaks during a news conference about a shooting Sept. 20, 2013, in Chicago.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, center, speaks during a news conference about a shooting Sept. 20, 2013, in Chicago.
Getty Images

"Illegal guns. Illegal guns. Illegal guns drive violence," said Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. "And military-type weapons like the one we believe to have been used in this shooting belong on a battlefield, not on a street or a corner or a park."

With more cops on the street, using detailed block-by-block intelligence, Chicago's rate of gun violence is actually down 23 percent this year.

Last June, we talked to McCarthy about that.

"My expectation is while there is going to be violence, we will be reducing it," McCarthy said in an interview with CBS News in June. "We're making progress. That's why I say all the time, progress not victory."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has promised that those responsible for the shooting in the park will be brought to justice. But late news on Friday was that two more people had been shot, including a 15-year-old boy who died.

Despite what has happened over the past 24 hours, Chicago is making progress against gun violence. There have been 305 homicides so far this year. At this pace, there would be 395 by year's end, which would be the fewest in nearly 50 years.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.

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