Following a relatively peaceful beginning to the Fourth of July weekend in Chicago, Illinois, a spurt of shootings broke out. In just eight hours, three people were shot dead and 27 were wounded, including a 7-year-old boy.
On his way back from a Fourth of July celebration, 7-year-old Amari Brown was shot by a bullet meant for his father, Antonio Brown, according to Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. McCarthy said the father was a “ranking gang member,” and that he has 45 previous arrests. He is reportedly not cooperating with police.
At the time of the shooting, Amari stood with an unrelated 26-year-old woman on the sidewalk. Amari was taken to the hospital by his father where he died. The woman was also shot and hospitalized but is in stable condition.
Hollie Williams, 38, said she was washing the dishes when her 9-year-old son ran in the kitchen. He was frightened, after having heard the gunshots, the Chicago Tribune reports.
“I didn’t even hear anything with all the fireworks,” Williams said. “I was shocked he knew the difference between gunshots and fireworks.”
Last year, during the Fourth of July weekend, the worst burst of violence occurred during a 13-hour period which left four dead and 26 wounded. The weekend had ended with 82 people shot, resulting in 16 deaths.
During this year’s extended Fourth of July weekend, 41 were wounded in 33 separate shooting incidents in Chicago. Seven people have been killed, ABC7 Chicago reports.
From just 9:20 p.m. July 4 until 4:45 a.m. July 5, 30 were shot and three died.
Most of the victims were in their early 20s though a few were over 30, and some were teenagers.
Vonzell Banks, 17, was one of this year’s victims, and like Amari, was not the shooter’s target. His life was honored at the South Side church where he played the drums. The park in which he was fatally shot was named after another slain teen, Hadiya Pendleton.
Several shootings involved multiple victims. Four were shot in an incident in Austin, three in Albany Park, two in West Chesterfield, another two in Humboldt Park, and two more in Fuller Park. Another 16-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl were shot around midnight as they walked around Old Town.
“In the last 48 hours, Chicago police officers have recovered about one illegal gun per hour across the city,” McCarthy said. While displaying some of the recovered firearms McCarthy said that officers would be moving to 12-hour shifts to increase manpower.
Photo Credit: Screenshot via ABC7 Chicago