A 7-year-old girl “clings to life” after she was shot in the neck while trick-or-treating with her family on Chicago’s West Side on Thursday night, the police said, and one person of interest has been identified.
“The shooting was reprehensible. Those involved don’t belong in our city,” Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference on Friday, adding that he was “disgusted” by it and that the child remains in critical but stable condition.
Around 5:30 p.m. in the Little Village neighborhood, at least one person in a group of men opened fire on a 31-year-old man, according to the Chicago Police Department. The gunman was wearing a “Jason” mask, Superintendent Johnson said, and the police believe the shooting was gang related.
The police have identified one person of interest and are continuing to search for “multiple offenders,” he said.
The girl “was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.
The girl, who was struck in the neck and was wearing a bumblebee costume, was with at least one parent, a public information officer for the police department, Sally Bown, said on Friday.
The 31-year-old man was shot in the left hand and was in stable condition at a hospital, according to the police on Thursday. Superintendent Johnson declined to say whether the man was cooperating with the investigation.
The authorities said that the girl and the man — whose names were not released — were not together. Anthony Guglielmi, a police department spokesman, said on Twitter that the police believed she was an “unintended victim.”
“Just a 7-year-old child out here, with her family, trick-or-treating, just like anybody else,” Sgt. Rocco Alioto said at a news conference at the scene on Thursday. “It shouldn’t happen anywhere. It shouldn’t happen in this city.”
Sergeant Alioto said that detectives were canvassing the area for witnesses and reviewing surveillance footage. The authorities believe the gunman fled on foot.
“This is a crime that touches all of us,” he said. “There is no place for this savagery in our city.”
It will take a community effort to help solve this case, he said, adding that Little Village was “no place for the offenders to hide if all eyes are searching.”
Larry Langford, a spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department, said on Thursday that he could not recall ever treating a child for gunshot wounds on Halloween during his 20 years on the job.
“It gets to the first responders because they have kids, too,” he said. “It’s a tragic situation, but it’s not a common situation in Chicago.”
Chicago has long struggled with gun violence. In one weekend in August, for example, seven people were killed and 52 wounded by gunfire, including a 5-year-old boy who was shot in the leg while sitting in a car.
Overall shootings, however, are down this year compared with last year.
The Chicago Tribune, which tracks the number of shooting victims in the city, said 2,313 people have been shot as of Oct. 27 this year, 223 fewer than in 2018. That is also the lowest total since 2015.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has also pledged to find solutions to the problems with gun violence.
Derrick Bryson Taylor contributed reporting.