'Everything about her was innocent': 7-year-old killed as shootings rock 3 major cities

More than 250 children have been shot and 32 killed in Chicago this year.

August 16, 2021, 10:51 AM

Three major U.S. cities struggling to curb a surge in gun violence collectively had at least 70 people shot, 16 dead, including a 7-year-old girl, in multiple shootings this weekend, according to police.

The shootings in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago came as all three cities have seen sharp increases in the numbers of shootings in 2021.

In Chicago, at least 52 people were shot between 6 p.m. on Friday and 11:59 p.m. Sunday, nine of them fatally, according to the Chicago Police Department. Twenty-three of the shootings occurred over just a 4-hour period between 12:26 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, according to incident reports reviewed by ABC News.

Just before 3 p.m. on Sunday, a 7-year-old girl was killed and her 6-year-old sister was seriously wounded when someone opened fire on a parked vehicle they were sitting in the Belmont Central neighborhood on the city's Northwest Side, police said. The 7-year-old was shot in the chest and later died at a hospital.

Police work outside the area where two sisters were shot on Aug. 15, 2021 in Belmont Central on Chicago's Northwest Side, according to Chicago police.
WLS-TV Chicago

One resident who lives near the shooting scene said the barrage of gunfire sounded "like a machine gun going off."

Regina Broughton told ABC station WLS in Chicago that her granddaughter, Serenity Broughton, was the child who was killed and Serenity's little sister, Aubrey, is fighting for her life at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago.

"I'm lost, I'm lost... I mean they were my life, my everything," Broughton told WLS. "How do you prepare yourself for something like this? She was a beautiful child. Her spirit was beautiful, innocent, everything about her was innocent."

Chicago police Chief of Patrol Brian McDermott pleaded for the public to help the police solve the shooting.

"To say that I am saddened and outraged would be an understatement," McDermott said at a news conference Sunday night. "I can only hope that every resident of this city is angry, saddened and outraged as I am at this time."

Police officers work outside the area where two sisters were shot on Aug. 15, 2021 in Belmont Central on Chicago's Northwest Side, according to Chicago police.
WLS-TV Chicago

Police did not comment on a possible motive.

More than 250 children have been shot and 32 killed in Chicago this year, according to police data obtained by ABC station WLS.

Prior to this weekend, more than 2,123 people had been shot in Chicago this year, which is a 12% increase from the same time period in 2020, according to police department crime statistics. Before this weekend, Chicago has recorded 478 homicides, a 2% increase over last year at this time.

The shootings this weekend in Chicago followed last weekend's violence, which saw 73 people shot in the city, 11 fatally.

Chicago police Officer Ella French was among those gunned down last weekend when she and her two partners pulled over a car for having expired tags. One of French's partners, a 39-year-old officer, was shot in the eye and remains in a hospital in critical condition with a bullet lodged in his brain, police said. Two brothers were arrested and charged in French's slaying.

The Chicago Police Department has launched several programs this summer in an attempt to curb shootings and reduce the number of illegal guns on the streets.

Last month, Police Superintendent David Brown assembled a team of 50 officers to target gun traffickers, straw buyers, unscrupulous licensed firearms dealers and anyone who facilitates the flow of illegal guns into the city of Chicago.

11 people shot, 5 fatally in Philadelphia

Entering the weekend, 1,333 people had been shot in Philadelphia this year, a 19% increase from the same period a year ago, according to police department crime statistics. By the end of Friday, the city had recorded 329 homicides, a 26% increase from the same time period in 2020, the data shows.

Eleven more people were shot in Philadelphia over the weekend, five fatally, according to police.

"We need to stop this," Philadelphia resident and retired Marine Jamal Johnson told ABC station WPVI in Philadelphia.

The weekend gun violence came as Johnson and a group of supporters are marching to Washington, D.C., to draw attention to the escalating number of shootings and killings in their city. Johnson calls his action the "Stop Killing us March" and hopes to meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus when he reaches the U.S. Capitol later this month.

"I would personally like them to encourage (Philadelphia) Mayor (Jim) Kenney to declare a state of emergency in Philadelphia due to gun violence," Johnson said. "Most of all to save the lives of our children."

Kenney said during a news conference last month that the city allocated over $150 million in its fiscal year 2022 budget to address gun violence. He said he has spoken to President Joe Biden "on the urgent need for new and enhanced approaches" to combat the problem.

"An emergency or disaster declaration would not change the direction of this work," the mayor said.

In the weekend homicides in Philadelphia, a 25-year-old man was shot multiple times on a street in the Tioga-Nicetown neighborhood of North Philadelphia about 9 p.m. on Saturday, police said. The victim, whose name was not released, was taken to Einstein Medical Center and pronounced dead.

Around 5 a.m. Saturday, a man was found shot in the parking lot of a gas station in the Wynnefield neighborhood in the northwest part of Philadelphia police said. The man, who was not named by police, was pronounced dead at a hospital.

A 30-year-old man died after being shot multiple times around 12:44 a.m. Saturday on a street in the Grays Ferry neighborhood of South Philadelphia, police said. A 46-year-old man died after being shot in the chest around 1:36 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the Rite Aid in southwest Philadelphia. And a 30-year-old man was found shot in the head near a park in the city's Kensington neighborhood around 3 a.m. Saturday and later died at a hospital, according to police.

No arrests have been made in any of the homicides, police said.

More than 1,100 shot in New York City this year

In New York City, where more than 1,100 people have been shot this year, an 11% increase from a year ago, police said 15 more people were shot, three fatally, in 11 separate incidents on Friday night alone. The three homicides occurred in just 4 1/2 hours.

The deadly violence started about 12:20 a.m. on Saturday when police discovered a man lying next to a motorcycle with a bullet wound to the head in the Woodlawn neighborhood of the city's Bronx borough, according to the New York Police Department. The victim, whose name was not immediately released, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

PHOTO: Police block off a crime scene in New York City.
STOCK/Getty Images

About 40 minutes later, a 38-year-old man was shot in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of the city's Queens borough, police said. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Just after 4 a.m. on Saturday, a 27-year-old man was shot dead while standing on a street in the Morris Heights neighborhood of the Bronx, police said. The shooting also left a 23-year-old man wounded.

No arrests have been made in the New York homicides.

Among the non-fatal New York shootings, four men were wounded just after midnight Saturday at the Louis Armstrong Houses in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in the city's Brooklyn borough, the NYPD said.

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