Friday, September 20, 2013
13 shot in mass shooting at Chicago park...
A late night basketball game, then 'boom, boom, boom, boom, boom'
By Peter Nickeas and Jeremy Gorner
Semecha Nunn tried hard to talk about her 3-year-old grandson, one of 13 people shot as neighbors played basketball in Cornell Square Park in the Back of the Yards Thursday night.
"They need to stop, they need to stop," Nunn said, the last word coming out as almost a shreik as she closed her eyes and collapsed crying.
Witnesses told police a gray sedan pulled up to the park around 10:15 p.m. and two men started firing in the 1800 block of West 51st Street.
"I think it was like an AK," said one neighbor. "Man, it was a lot of shots. Man, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. A little boy got hit in the face."
Another neighbor said he was across the park from the basketball court when he heard as many as 20 shots. "I was across the park and I heard the shots and I came over and there was a lot of people down. It happened so fast. They were just playing ball, like they do everyday."
The first paramedics found more than a dozen people lying across the rust-colored court. One person lay near a bicycle that was on its side. A pair of white gym shoes was left near an out-of-bounds line.
Ambulances continued to arrive a half hour after the shootings as wounded people were brought out of the park on stretchers. About 60 police officers converged on the park and crime lab investigators combed the scene. By about 12:30 a.m. Friday, firefighters used hoses to clean blood from the basketball court.
The wounded boy, identified by family as Deonta' Howard, was shot near the ear, the bullet exiting through his cheek, according to police and relatives. He was in critical condition at Mount Sinai Hospital, police said.
Nunn said her grandson is heavily sedated and will need plastic surgery. “He tried to get up and go, he’s not trying to be pinned down by nobody,’’ she said.
“He’s not your average 3-year-old," Nunn said. "He’s very smart, he’s beyond his years. I don’t know if you’ve heard the saying, 'He’s an old soul.' That’s the best words to describe him. He’s an old soul.
“He's friendly for the most part, very outgoing, outspoken,’’ Nunn said. “He likes the limelight, he’ll let you know who he is."
A witness said three police officers carried the child to an ambulance. "I didn't hear no sounds" from the child, he said.
Two other victims were initially taken to hospitals in serious-to-critical condition, according to the Fire Department. Four were in fair-to-serious condition and four were in good-to-fair condition, according to the Fire Department.
Police listed the victims as:
• A 3-year-old boy, shot in the ear, in critical condition at Mount Sinai
• A 17-year-old girl, shot in the foot, condition stabilized at Holy Cross Hospital
• A 15-year-old boy shot in the arm, stabilized at Holy Cross
• A man, 27, shot in the leg and wrist, serious condition at Mount Sinai
• A man, 24, shot twice in the stomach, serious condition at Mount Sinai
• A man, 21, shot in the leg, serious condition at Mount Sinai
• A man, 41, shot in the buttocks, serious condition at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital
• A woman, 33, shot in the shoulder, condition stabilized at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
• A man, 31, shot in the buttocks, condition stabilized at Northwestern
• A woman, 23, shot in the foot, condition stabilized at St. Anthony Hospital
• A man, 37, shot in the leg, in good condition at Stroger
• A man, 25, shot in the knee, in good condition at Northwestern
• And a man, 33, who drove himself to Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park with a gunshot wound to the leg and who was treated and released.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel was headed back to Chicago from Washington, D.C., where he was scheduled to meet today with Obama administration Cabinet secretaries on city issues, mayoral spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said. Emanuel flew to D.C. last night ahead of swing that also was supposed to include a political fundraiser for Democratic New Jersey U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker.
Emanuel also released a statement this morning about the Back of the Yards shooting. "Senseless and brazen acts of violence have no place in Chicago and betray all that we stand for. The perpetrators of this crime will be brought to justice and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I encourage everyone in the community to step forward with any information and everyone in Chicago to continue their individual efforts to build stronger communities where violence has no place," the statement reads.
Tribune reporter Liam Ford contributed