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3-Year-Old Girl Shot In Chest In West Englewood

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A 3-year-old girl was shot in West Englewood Tuesday evening, officials said.

Chicago Police Chief of Operations Fred Waller said shortly before 8 p.m., the girl was shot in the chest in the 7000 block of South Damen Avenue.

The child was taken to the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital in critical condition, but had been stabilized late Tuesday, Waller said. She was wounded in her upper torso.

Waller said it appeared the shooters were in a vehicle, but not the victim.

He said detectives were canvassing the area Tuesday night, and looking at video, but did not yet have any solid leads.

He said detectives were investigating whether a shooting Tuesday evening nearby at 71st and Honore streets, which left a 15-year-old boy wounded, might be related.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported, shell casings were seen in the street and several alleys as police worked the crime scene – which spanned several city blocks.

Numerous children were also seen outside playing and sitting with their families.

At least seven other children age 10 or under have been shot in the last two weeks.

"This is not, and this cannot be our new normal. This cannot be. Where's the outrage?" Waller said. "I was just here not long ago with these same commanders and deputy chiefs. This cannot be our new normal, people. Our babies are being shot. These are our babies."

This past weekend alone, 65 people were shot and 17 people were killed. Among them was 1-year-old Sincere Gaston, who was shot in the chest while he was in the back seat of his mother's car in the 6000 block of South Halsted Street in Englewood on Saturday afternoon.

Hours later, 10-year-old Lena Nunez was killed by a stray bullet that went through an her grandmother's apartment window in the 3500 block of West Dickens Avenue in Logan Square.

Right before the shooting Tuesday, police Supt. David Brown and other leaders within the department were at an event to honor Lena's life. At the event, police called for the communities help in finding whoever shot and Lena.

Also Saturday, police responded to another shooting more than an hour later in the West Englewood neighborhood where an 8-year-old girl was grazed in the head. Police say she was sitting on the couch at home near 66th and Wood streets when a stray bullet went through the window. She was taken to Comer Children's Hospital in fair condition.

On Monday, a 3-year-old girl was grazed by a bullet in Chicago Lawn. The girl and a 33-year-old woman were outside a home at 6521 S. Claremont Ave. when someone in a tan vehicle fired shots from inside, police said. The girl was grazed by a bullet and taken to Comer Children's Hospital in good condition. The woman was not shot.

One week ago Saturday, 3-year-old Mekhi James was shot and killed while riding in an SUV with his stepfather on the 600 block of North Central Avenue. The 27-year-old stepfather, who police believed to be the target of the shooting, suffered a graze wound to the abdomen and drove to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park. Mekhi was pronounced dead at the same hospital.

On June 17, a 9-year-old girl was among four people shot in the 1300 block of West 76th Street in Auburn Gresham. The girl was shot in the right leg and was reported in good condition at the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital. Men ages 31, 25 and 19 were also wounded in that incident.

On June 18, a 5-year-old boy was shot in the buttocks in the 700 block of West 50th Place in Back of the Yards and was taken to a local hospital. A 19-year-old man was also wounded in that shooting.

The rash of shootings in which children have been the victims comes just ahead of the 4th of July holiday weekend. De Mar asked Waller what he could tell parents who are worried about their children's safety for the holiday.

"We don't want to make it seem like you can't enjoy the holiday," Waller said. "But I tell people – be careful of your associations. Be careful of the people who run up on the porch and the associations of people who do things and then run to your residence. Be careful of that."

Police said 1,200 extra officers will be out on the streets during the holiday weekend.


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