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Chicago Police superintendent: Weekend mass shooting victims were not involved with gangs

Chicago Police Supt. says mass shooting victims weren't involved with gangs
Chicago Police Supt. says mass shooting victims weren't involved with gangs 01:12

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling emphasized Wednesday that the victims of a mass shooting in Back of the Yards this past weekend had nothing to do with gangs.

The shooting at a family gathering at a house on 52nd Street near Damen Avenue this past Saturday night left 9-year-old Arianna Molina dead and 10 others wounded, including three other children.

Ariana Molina, 9, was shot and killed in a mass shooting during a family gathering in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on April 13, 2024. Ten of her relatives were wounded in the shooting, including three other children. GoFundMe

A 1-year-old boy and a 7-year-old boy were each shot multiple times and were left in critical condition after the shooting. A 9-year-old boy suffered a graze wound to his left pinky finger and was in good condition. Officials said the ages of the adult victims ranged from 19 to 40.

A source said the children were playing outside when the shooting happened. Some adults were inside or on the porch at the time.

This past weekend, Chicago Police Wentworth Area Deputy Chief Don Jerome said the shooting was "likely gang-related" and was not a random act of violence. But Ariana's family was quick to say the family was not involved in gang activity and did not know why they were targeted.

"She had nothing to do with that. None of us are gang bangers. We don't gang bang," Jose Molina said Monday. "We've been here 30 years. We don't do none of that."

On Wednesday, Snelling said the motive for the shooting remains under investigation and it is too soon to jump to conclusions about the motive – and Molina's family was not involved in gang activity.

"I think the confusion here was that people assumed that the victims were members of gangs. No. I think that's just a little confusing. So this wasn't someone shooting at these people because they were gang members – so let's just make that clear. So we don't want to put that on the family" he said. "Until we get all of the facts, we don't need to say anything about the motive right now – because it is under investigation."

Chicago Police and other organizations on Wednesday opened an emergency assistance center at Richard J. Daley Elementary Academy, 5024 S. Wolcott Ave., to help survivors of the mass shooting.

Members of Chicago Survivors helped the victims recover from trauma through free counseling, compensation, and property repair.

"I can't talk enough about these types of tragedies, you know, where a 9-year-old lost their life to senseless gun violence – not only that, three other children were struck by gun violence. And all I can tell you is just, you know, miracles do happen – those children made it through," Snelling said. "But there's still a level of trauma that affects these children and is going to affect them the rest of their lives."

Snelling also emphasized the need hold dangerous people accountable and get them off the streets.

"As communities, we have to come together in order to combat the number of people who are out here committing these violent crimes. We have to get on top of this. We have to remove violent offenders from the street. We have to keep them away from the streets," he said. "We can't continue to have repeat offenders doing the same thing over and over again."

Snelling said police are taking a more comprehensive approach to fighting gun crime with new Crime Gun Intelligence Center – which will allow federal, state, and local collaboration of agencies hopes to speed up the process of holding gun offenders accountable.

Snelling said the collaboration - which will be composed of 65 agents, officers, analysts, and prosecutors all under one roof working together to get shooters off the streets - will be focused on speed.

Meanwhile, the emergency assistance center for the Back of the Yards mass shooting victims was only open Wednesday from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. But Snelling said anyone can call Crime Victim Services, at 312-745-6340, for resources.

No one had been apprehended in the Back of the Yards mass shooting as of Wednesday evening.

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