A 7-year-old girl was shot and killed during a Fourth of July party in Chicago’s South Austin neighborhood on Saturday.
Police told multiple outlets that the victim, who was visiting her grandmother for the family party, was on the sidewalk at 7:02 p.m. local time, when four men pulled up in a vehicle and opened fire in the girl’s direction.
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The girl was shot in the head, police told CBS Chicago and NBC Chicago. She was transported to Stroger Hospital of Cook County in critical condition and was later pronounced dead.
A 32-year-old man was also injured in the shooting and transported himself to Mount Sinai Hospital in fair condition with a gunshot wound to the ankle and a graze wound to the leg, police told the outlets. The suspects remain at large.
“When families should be celebrating, having a good time, spending time together, a 7-year-old girl was taken from us,” Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Fred Waller told CBS Chicago. “A 7-year-old girl who was here visiting her grandmother, visiting her family, and now she’s gone.”
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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed the tragedy in a series of tweets later on Saturday. “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,” Lightfoot, 57, said.
“We must stop the violence before it starts by investing in our children, our neighborhoods and our schools,” the mayor continued. “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.”
Lightfoot added, “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.”
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At least eight other children age 10 or under in Chicago have been shot since mid-June, including a one-year-old who was shot in the chest while in the backseat of his mother’s car on June 27, according to CBS Chicago.
That same day, a 10-year-old was shot and killed by a stray bullet that went through her grandmother’s apartment window in Logan Square.