CHICAGO — A 15-year-old charged in the shooting of a 7-year-old girl who was trick-or-treating in Little Village appeared in court Saturday where attorneys said the teen was out looking for rival gang members on Halloween.
The teen, whose name has not been released because he is a minor, was charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon.
The shooting happened at about 5:30 p.m. on Halloween near 26th Street and Lawndale Avenue while the girl was with her family. Police said the girl, dressed as a bumblebee, was walking on the other side of the street when she was shot by a gunman wearing a "Jason" mask. Authorities said she was shot in the lower neck and chest area.
A witness said the girl’s father was on the sidewalk screaming for help. An employee at a nearby cellphone store told the Chicago Tribune she pulled the family inside the store and applied pressure to the child’s chest to stop the bleeding.
The girl was transported to Stroger Hospital in critical condition where she remains in critical condition as of Saturday.
In court, the state's attorney said the 15-year-old accused was a member of the Two-Six street gang. The state's attorney said he and three other friends, who are now witnesses, decided to go out and look for members of a rival gang on 26th Street.
One of the friends crossed the street and approached a 32-year-old man and asked if he was a Latin King and reached out to shake his hand. The man said yes. One of the 15-year-old's friends stated he was a Two-Six, and the 32-year-old started running. The group then started chasing the man and the teen fired at him seven times from across the street — striking the man and the little girl.
The man was shot in the hand and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in good condition.
The state's attorney said the teen hid the gun in garbage in a nearby alley, and said footage of him shooting and hiding the gun was captured on surveillance video.
The teen, who was wearing a red jacket/hoodie at the time of the shooting, then gave the jacket to a friend so they could hide it. The group of friends then went to a cousin's house and listened to police scanner, which is when they heard the little girl had been struck.
The state's attorney said the teen then urinated on his hands to get "smoke" from the gun off of his hands. The group then went to get food when they were stopped and questioned by police.
The gun was recovered from an alley and matched to the shooting.
The teen's defense attorney said he wants to see the surveillance video that allegedly shows his client. The attorney also said the evidence against the teen is not strong enough and is mostly based on what clothes he was wearing.
The girl's family said they were grateful for the outpouring of love and support shown by Chicagoans and those around the nation. They are requesting privacy at this time.
Residents of the neighborhood gathered Friday night to honor the child and show support for the community. Police said there has been an almost unprecedented level of cooperation from the public with this investigation. Witnesses have been reaching out by phone, online and in-person at 51st Street Station with information.
The teen will remain in custody until his next court date Nov. 4.