7-year-old girl critically wounded in Christmas morning shooting

CHICAGO —In the predawn hours of Christmas morning, a burst of gunfire on Chicago’s Southwest Side disrupted a family’s holiday celebration and left a 7-year-old girl fighting for her life.

The child was watching television in the living room of a multifamily building just after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 3500 block of South Washtenaw Avenue when gunshots rang out, according to Chicago police.

Outside the dwelling, a 38-year-old man, who police said was the apparent target of the shooting, was hit in leg. An errant bullet flew through a window of the home, tore through a couch and hit the girl in the abdomen.

As emergency vehicles arrived at the scene, lights from a Chicago police SUV and an ambulance flashed alongside the strobing Christmas bulbs on decorations outside the building, video taken by Network Video Productions and obtained by the Tribune shows.

A paramedic emerged from the home and carried the girl in his arms to the ambulance, a moment captured in the same video. Speechless and wide-eyed, two men and a woman could be seen trailing closely behind emergency personnel as the girl was loaded inside the waiting vehicle.

She was rushed to Stroger Hospital, where she was listed in critical condition.

The girl, who lives in suburban Hanover Park, was visiting relatives at the Brighton Park home, said Andrew Holmes, a crisis responder and community activist who spoke with the family Wednesday morning.

Moments before the gunfire erupted, the girl was playing with her two younger cousins in front of a couch in the living room while her aunts and uncles sat around the dining table, eating and talking, Holmes told the Chicago Tribune after speaking with family members.

The man who was also shot walked into St. Anthony’s Hospital for treatment, police said. His condition was stabilized, and he was expected to be transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital, authorities said.

No one was in custody Wednesday afternoon.

The shooting grabbed the attention of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who expressed concern for the family and called the public to come forward with any information that might help Chicago police find the person responsible.

It was the second time in recent months that a child has been injured in a holiday shooting, coming after another 7-year-old was shot while trick-or-treating in the Little Village neighborhood on Halloween. That child survived.

“As we gather for the holiday, we renew our commitment to protect our children from harm,” Lightfoot said on Twitter. “Praying for the young girl struck by a bullet in Brighton Park. To the family, CPD will do everything possible to bring the perpetrator to justice. As a City, you have our love and support.”

Police said the shots appeared to have been fired from the sidewalk outside into the home, where the family gathering was taking place.

At least six creased notecards served as evidence markers and appeared next to shell casings strewn across 35th Place on Wednesday morning. Police later placed a band of red tape across the gate to the building and the doorway to the unit.

The red brick multifamily building where the child was shot sits across the street from Burroughs Elementary School. A hand railing outside the home was decorated in silver, red and green garland early Wednesday. The bullet that apparently struck the girl left a hole through a window still decorated with a sign carrying the festive message: “Merry Christmas,” with an image of a Christmas tree.

Christmas morning, Holmes canvassed the area, searching for tips that might help police lead to an arrest in the shooting. Area Central police detectives were investigating.

“I don’t feel like doing Christmas today,” Holmes said. “I want to help this family. This child’s Christmas has turned into a disaster.

“Hopefully we can find the individual who discharged that weapon. That should be Christmas for them, Christmas for me.”

The shooting was one of several overnight Tuesday into the early morning hours Wednesday.

Shortly after 2 a.m., a 27-year-old man was walking in the McKinley Park neighborhood when he heard shots and felt pain. He was taken with a gunshot wound to the right leg to St. Anthony Hospital, police said.

About 3:15 a.m., a 32-year-old man was shot while he was walking in the Austin neighborhood. He was walking through a gas station parking lot when he suffered a graze wound to the shoulder. He was being treated at Loretto Hospital, according to police.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw, accompanied by Premier Jason Kenney, in March when the pandemic had just started in Alberta. On Wednesday, Kenney said COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed in three phases in the province. Photo by Government of Alberta
COVID-19 vaccine available to Albertans in January – distributed in 3 phases

Vaccine won’t be widely available until the fall of 2021

The G.H. Dawe Community Centre in Red Deer is getting a twinned ice rink, spray park and other upgrades as part of the 2021 capital budget. (Advocate file photo).
Red Deer city council approves $43.3 million upgrade to G.H. Dawe Centre

In a 7-2 vote, the majority on council felt it’s about time

Olds College received 10 Angus heifer calves, donated by The Canadian Red Angus Promotion Society. (File photo)
Olds College and TELUS to develop new agriculture technologies

TELUS Agriculture is investing $1 million in the Olds College Smart Farm.… Continue reading

Const. Jason Tress leaves Red Deer provincial court. An RCMP officer, whose name is under a publication ban, testified Tress sexually assaulted her at a party in 2012. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Former Red Deer RCMP officer denies sexually assaulting colleague

Former Const. Jason Tress took the stand in his own defence on Wednesday

A new public washroom, proposed for downtown Red Deer, was tabled in the city’s 2021 budget discussions so more questions can be answered about the proposal. (Advocate file photo).
Proposed downtown public washroom is stalled in 2021 budget discussions

More questions need to be answered about the $511,500 project

Dan Cochrane, senior pastor at CrossRoads Church. Contributed photo
CrossRoads Church closes its doors for two weeks after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

CrossRoads Church made the decision to cancel in-house services for two weeks… Continue reading

Bullet holes from 2014 attack on Parliament Hill to be left untouched in renovations

Bullet holes from 2014 attack on Parliament Hill to be left untouched in renovations

Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, holds a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020., to announce additional funds to improve access to safe drinking water on reserves. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Boil-water advisories at First Nations communities to remain past March 2021: feds

Boil-water advisories at First Nations communities to remain past March 2021: feds

Wilner Cayo, centre, and Frantz Andre attend a demonstration outside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's constituency office in Montreal on May 23, 2020, where they called on the government to give residency status to migrant workers as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Refugee advocates criticize Canada’s decision to resume deportations during COVID-19

Refugee advocates criticize Canada’s decision to resume deportations during COVID-19

Commissioner and former Supreme Court justice Michel Bastarache speaks at the Inquiry Commission into the appointment of judges on October 13, 2010 in Quebec City. The author of a report that found a toxic, misogynistic culture in the RCMP says the police force must take some "drastic actions" right away to restore confidence. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
RCMP must take ‘drastic actions’ to restore confidence: former Supreme Court justice

RCMP must take ‘drastic actions’ to restore confidence: former Supreme Court justice

Police officers guard the scene of an incident in Trier, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. German police say people have been killed and several others injured in the southwestern German city of Trier when a car drove into a pedestrian zone. Trier police tweeted that the driver had been arrested and the vehicle impounded.(AP Photo/Michael Probst)
German city grieves after 5 killed in pedestrian zone attack

German city grieves after 5 killed in pedestrian zone attack

In this undated photo released by Pfizer on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, a thermal shipping box for a COVID-19 candidate vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer is shown in front of a freezers at the company headquarters in Puurs, Belgium. The potential vaccine is awaiting approval to use against the coronavirus. (Pfizer via AP)
Britain OKs Pfizer vaccine and will begin shots within days

Britain OKs Pfizer vaccine and will begin shots within days

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2020 file photo, French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference on the situation in Lebanon. France and the U.N. will host a new conference next week about aid to Beirut after its devastating port explosion in August, amid political deadlock and a worsening economic crisis in Lebanon, the French presidency said Friday, Nov. 27. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly, Pool)
France and UN rally aid for Lebanon, urge political reforms

France and UN rally aid for Lebanon, urge political reforms

President Donald Trump departs after participating in a video teleconference call with members of the military on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
In video, Trump recycles unsubstantiated voter fraud claims

In video, Trump recycles unsubstantiated voter fraud claims

Most Read