Chicago - An apparently gang-related shooting spree on
Chicago's South Side left 13 people wounded, including a 3-year-old child,
police said on Friday.
Chicago has been struggling with gun violence for years,
which hurt the city's reputation and put pressure for change on Mayor Rahm
"I can tell you that it's an ongoing
investigation," Chicago police department spokesperson Amina Greer said on
No arrests have been made so far, Greer said, adding that
police believe the motive for the shooting was gang-related.
According to witnesses, gunfire rang out late on Thursday
as gunmen sprayed a basketball court with bullets in a park in the city's Ninth
"We were sitting in the park talking, then two dudes
came up, stood by the gate for a minute, then they just started shooting,"
said Michelle Adams, 16.
Other witnesses said the gunmen had driven up and fired
on the basketball court from their vehicle.
Mayor Emanuel cancelled two meetings in Washington on
opportunities for Chicago and was headed back to his city after being notified
about the shooting, his press office said.
"Senseless and brazen acts of violence have no place
in Chicago and betray all that we stand for," Emanuel said in a statement.
"The perpetrators of this crime will be brought to
justice and prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
Police said that besides 3-year-old Deonta Howard, those
injured ranged in age from 15 to 41.
As of Friday morning, three of the gunshot victims,
including Howard, were in serious to critical condition in area hospitals.
Howard was in surgery, said Naphtali Dukes, 38, who said
he was the boy's cousin.
"They said he's going to make it," Dukes said.
Mitchell Gary, 53, said his brother was shot in the back
and buttocks and his nephew was shot in the arm and ankle.
Gun violence in Chicago led to more than 500 murders in
2012, according to a report this week by the FBI.
By comparison, New York City, with a population three
times Chicago's, had 419 murders in 2012, the FBI said.
Murder rate down
So far this year, the city's murder rate is down 22% from
a year earlier. Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy has said recently
that murders were down 45% in 20 neighbourhoods targeted since February for
additional police, including expanded use of foot patrols.
One Chicago murder this year that caught national
attention was of Hadiya Pendleton, 15, an honour student killed at a park just
days after she performed at a January presidential inauguration event in
Other notorious Chicago killings include the death of a
7-year-old girl last summer at her mother's candy stand and the shooting of a
6-month-old baby last March by a gang member, who was aiming at her father.
Chicago's crime problem is just one of a host of issues
The former White House chief of staff under President
Barack Obama pledged to clean up the streets of the city after a successful,
well-financed run for office in 2011.
Citing budget problems, the city closed 50 public schools
in May, angering parents and the powerful teachers union.
The city faces large and growing pension liabilities, and
Emanuel's former comptroller was recently indicted in Ohio.