At least eight children were shot in Chicago over Labor Day weekend, including a 4-year-old boy who was killed when bullets fired outside his home flew through a window and hit him in the head while he was getting a haircut, police said on Monday.
A frustrated Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said at a news conference that the children being shot in Chicago are getting caught in the crossfire of criminals and their intended targets, both of whom appear not to care if children are in the way.
"I'm not trying to vilify the victim, but these innocent young children should not be the byproduct of your criminal behavior," Brown said. "This is directly to the offenders who are being targeted: You know the life you lead, you know that you're being targeted, or that you've done something to cause this retribution from some rival gang or some rival person. Why are you continuing to be around young people, our children?"
Seldom is it the case that children are directly targeted, Brown said, adding that "it's always some other offender, gang member, criminal network, beef" in which adults are targeted and young people nearby "are shot as innocent bystanders."
Mychal Moultry was the youngest child shot over the holiday weekend and police were still searching for his killer on Monday. A $9,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the person responsible for the child's death.
Chicago police said the 4-year-old was in his home in the Woodlawn neighborhood on the city's South Side when shooting erupted outside the residence around 9 p.m. on Friday.
"This victim was inside his residence in the front area getting his hair cut when two bullets came through the front window and struck our victim in the head," said Deputy Chief of Detectives Rahman Muhammad.
The child was taken to Comer Children's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Muhammad pleaded for the public's help in solving the homicide.
Shootings over the weekend in Chicago added to a grim toll of at least 280 minors who have been shot this year in the city, including now 35 who have died, according to data analyzed by ABC station WLS in Chicago.
At least seven other victims, ranging in age from 12 to 18, were shot in Chicago over the weekend.
Another 49 adults were shot in the city, four fatally, between 8 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. on Monday, including a Chicago Transit Authority bus driver who was shot and wounded on the job during an attack, according to a review by ABC News of police incident reports.
A 13-year-old boy was shot while inside his home on Saturday, Muhammad said. The shooting happened just before 8 p.m. on the South Side and police said no suspects have yet been identified.
The child was shot in the head and remains in serious condition at Comer Children's Hospital, police said.
"He was inside of the basement area of his home with friends and someone shot into that basement window," Muhammad said.
In another shooting on Saturday, a 14-year-old boy and his 11-year-old sister were both wounded at a community back-to-school event where they were doing volunteer work at the behest of their parents, according to police. The shooting unfolded abound 3:23 p.m. when two suspects opened fire from a car driving by the event, which was being held at a gas station in the Garfield Park neighborhood on the city's West Side and included a bouncy house and go-karts for children.
"There were multiple shots that were fired into that crowd causing the injuries of our victims," Muhammad said.
Police said the girl suffered a graze wound to her hip and her brother was shot in the ankle. They were taken to Rush University Medical Center, where they were treated and released. A 25-year-old man was also shot four times, including twice in the chest, in the same incident and was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
It remained unclear on Monday if the wounded man was the intended target.
Lamar Peterson, the father of the two children shot, told WLS he took his son and daughter to the event to "give back to the community" by volunteering to help children who are less fortunate than them.
"I don't know what's in these people's heart that would make them want to shoot at a bouncy house and go-karts and cotton candy," Peterson said.
In yet another shooting, a 14-year-old boy walking with his father to a car was hit by gunfire in the elbow around 10:30 a.m. on the city's West Side, according to police. No suspects have been identified in the shooting.
Another 14-year-old boy was shot on Sunday in the Little Village neighborhood in the southeast part of the city. The boy was standing outside about 3 a.m. when shots rang out from a white car and he was hit in the thigh and buttocks, police said. The boy was treated at Mt. Sinai Hospital, and police are still working to identify suspects in the shooting.
And two teenagers, a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old, were both shot around 2 a.m. on Sunday while they were in a car in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Side traveling home from a party, police said. The 17-year-old was shot in the back while the other victim was hit in the leg, police said.
They were taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center and were both in stable condition, police said. No arrests have been made.
Chief of Patrol Brian McDermott of the Chicago Police Department said the weekend shootings came despite officers being deployed to neighborhoods where there has recently been an uptick in shootings.
Citywide a total of 2,344 people have been shot in the first eight months of this year in Chicago, a 9% increase from the same period in 2020, according to police department crime statistics. Police have investigated 524 murders this year, an increase of 3% over last year.
Brown asked residents of Chicago to work with police if they have information about any of the shootings.
"People in the community know who the offenders are and the circumstances behind who's targeted, and we need people in the community to come forward," Brown said. "This is beyond trusting the police. This is about the safety of our babies."