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7-Year-Old Girl Shot, Killed In South Austin Neighborhood On July 4th Evening

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A 7-year-old girl is dead after being shot this 4th of July in the South Austin neighborhood.

The shooting happened in the 100 block of North Waller Avenue. Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Fred Waller said the girl was visiting her grandmother for a family July 4th party.

The girl was playing in her yard at the gathering, in which numerous other children were also playing and riding bicycles, Waller said.

Police said at 7:02 p.m., the girl was on the sidewalk when a light-colored vehicle pulled up and an unknown number of people exited. Those people then took out guns and fired shots in the girl's direction, police said.

The girl was shot in the forehead, police said. She was transported to Stroger Hospital of Cook County in critical condition. Waller said the girl was pronounced dead at the hospital.

A 32-year-old man was also wounded in the shooting, police said. He transported himself to Mount Sinai Hospital in fair condition with a gunshot wound to the ankle and a graze wound to the leg.

Police are looking into whether that man was the target.

"When families should be celebrating, having a good time, spending time together, a 7-year-old girl was taken from us," Waller said. "A 7-year-old girl who was here visiting her grandmother, visiting her family, and now she's gone."

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Saturday night issued a Twitter thread decrying the shooting.


"Tonight, a 7-year-old girl in Austin joined a list of teenagers and children whose hopes and dreams were ended by the barrel of a gun. As families gather to commemorate the founding of our nation, we must ask ourselves: is this who we are as a city or as a country? We cannot grow numb to this. We are making progress in slowing shootings, but we have to do better, every single one of us.

"We must stop the violence before it starts by investing in our children, our neighborhoods and our schools. We must continue to invest in our street outreach work, in police-community relationships, and in healing those who have been harmed by violence so that we can stop the cycle of retaliation. As a city, we must wrap our arms around our youth so they understand there's a future for them that isn't wrapped up in gun violence. This has happened for far too long in our communities. I call on anyone with information on these incidents to come forward or submit a tip anonymously at Those committing these senseless acts of violence will be held accountable."

Area Four Detectives were investigating Saturday evening.

The girl's death came on the heels of an aggressive crime-reduction approach by the Chicago Police Department.

Officers attended anti-violence rallies in city neighborhoods, and an additional 1,200 officers were put on the streets.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown has also talked about 17 gun confiscations this weekend in the Englewood (7th) District.

But this July 4 weekend so far has seen more than a dozen people shot in Chicago. Three others have also died.

Meanwhile, at least eight other children age 10 or under in Chicago have been shot since mid-June. Three others have died.

This past Tuesday evening, a 3-year-old girl was shot in the chest in the 7000 block of South Damen Avenue in West Englewood. The child was taken to the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital in critical condition, but had been stabilized by late Tuesday. She was wounded in her upper torso.

One-year-old Sincere Gaston 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 the afternoon of Saturday, June 27.

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

The same day, 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, June 22, 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.

On Saturday, June 20, 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 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.

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.

Police said they were looking at "very good" surveillance video to try to track down the vehicle involved in the girl's shooting Saturday evening.

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