Hidden America: Children Caught in Chicago Gang War Crossfire

Young boys and girls grow up in war zone of gang violence.
3:00 | 10/18/12

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Transcript for Hidden America: Children Caught in Chicago Gang War Crossfire
And now, another abc news special report on hidden america. Chicago is a great city, but there are some neighborhoods there where small children live in battle zones. Listen to this number. 419 people killed this year. Across a dozen neighborhoods. More than the u.S. Troops killed in afghanistan this year. And the cause? Rival gangs, creating anarchy. Tomorrow night, we're going to show you something unprecedented. We gather 38 members of rival gangs, past and precept, from the hispanic gangs to their black rivals, to talk about the slaughter and how to make it stop. But tonight, some of the reasons it cannot go on. Tonight, there are american children living in a war zone. My mom doesn't like me going outside because she fears for my life. Where did she get shot out? In the head. Reporter: A 6-year-old girl is killed in broad daylight, sitting on the porch. In another neighborhood, another girl, 7 years old -- ♪ here I am ♪ Reporter: Shot dead, selling candy in the front yard. Some as young as 134 and 14, some carrying assault weapons and shooting at random. In chicago, police are stretched then, the major enraged. Take your gang conflict away from a 7-year-old. Who raised you? Reporter: And one of the children, in one of those neighborhoods, is a 7-year-old named ralph. Who wants to surprise me, so, he makes me go out and come in again. Try it one more time. Surprise! Reporter: So surprising! Ralph is aller repressable vitality. That's it. Reporter: His little house is a kind of fortress. Day and night, gun fire rings out as the weekend approaches. He's so scared, he keeps the blinds drawn, afraid to play outside or walk to and from school. My grandma. Reporter: And it says "rest in peace" for your grandma. He was shot dead last year, just standing outside. We used to eat noodles a lot and then, it's like, every time she would fix me something, we used to share it and I loved that. It was my graduation. Reporter: Wow. I was in kinder guarden. Reporter: He shows me how close the gun fire comes to his house when the dangerous young men they call gang bangers go by. You see the alley? The gang bangers running and shooting. Reporter: How often do you say this happens? It happens almost every day. Reporter: So, to protect himself and his mother, at the front door, ralph pulls a gate, adds a padlock. Like that. Reporter: Fastens two bolts. I think we go it. At the back door, he puts a bike in front of the door and a trash can in front of the bike and then a chair in front of the trash can. Ralph tells me, some day, when he grows up, he wants to be a super hero called ralph. Yeah. And I'm going to change this city into a new city by taking all the guns -- no, all the gang bangers out. Reporter: But until ralph's muscles are bigger. Hey. If you live in a safe place tonight, think of him and all the other children on a kind of battlefield. Desiree lost her father. I keep telling him to stop. And they just don't want to stop. They not listening. Reporter: Children who say they just want a future, too. I actually like reading maya angelou, like, I like how she wrote "i know why the caged bird sings." I want to be a police officer or a doctor. ♪ As long there's a smile upon your angel face ♪ ♪ oh my job is done ♪ I like to be the president , a brain surgeon and a lawyer. Please, stop killing people. Without that, our neighborhood would be totally different. Don't shoot, I want to grow up. Don't shoot, I want to grow

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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