There have already been at least 67 people shot in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend. Within four hours, from 11 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday, 36 people were shot. There were at least 13 killed during the holiday weekend, including a 7-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy.
Nine of the weekend’s shooting victims were minors, a worrying trend of children being shot and killed in Chicago. A 7-year-old girl was killed over the holiday weekend.
Natalie Wallace was playing on a sidewalk outside of her grandmother’s home around 7 p.m. on Saturday in the city’s Austin neighborhood when three men got out of a car and sprayed more than 20 rounds in the direction of a family’s Fourth of July party, which had children present. The 7-year-old was shot in the forehead and pronounced dead at the Stroger Hospital of Cook County.
“Tonight, a 7-year-old girl in Austin joined a list of teenagers and children whose hopes and dreams were ended by the barrel of a gun,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Twitter. “We cannot grow numb to this. We are making progress in slowing shootings, but we have to do better, every single one of us.”
A 14-year-old boy was shot and killed in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood on the South Side. The attack, which happened at a large gathering, killed four people, and wounded four others, including an 11-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy.
This is the third week in a row where a young child died from gun violence in Chicago. In the two weeks leading up to the Fourth of July weekend, seven children under the age of 18 were killed in Chicago.
A 20-month-old toddler, Sincere Gaston, was killed last weekend after being hit with a stray bullet while riding in a car with his mom. “I am lifeless,” said Yasmine Miller, the boy’s mother. “That was my world. They came and took a piece of us. Broke us. He stole my baby from me.”
The baby’s grandmother said the boy’s death comes nearly six years to the day when one of her sons was killed by gun violence. “To have to do this again and watch my baby walk in the shoes I had to walk in,” Eve Binion said. “Wake up every day and push yourself to keep moving. Enough is enough.”
A 3-year-old boy was shot and killed over Father’s Day weekend. Mekhi James was killed on his way home after getting a haircut. He was shot while in the backseat of a car. “It hurts! It hurts!” the boy cried out after being struck in the back by the bullet.
“I am not supposed to be standing here,” Myesha James, the boy’s mother, said. “My boy, my boy. You mean the world to me,” James said. “I can’t put it words. That’s I why I keep saying ‘my boy.’ I can’t put what he means to me in words.”
Lena Nunez, who was 10-years-old, was shot and killed while visiting her uncle’s home in Logan Square last weekend. A stray bullet came through a window and struck her in the head, according to Chicago police.
Amaria Jones was killed two weeks ago. The 13-year-old was showing her mom a dance move she learned from TikTok when she was shot. The bullet went through a window into Amaria’s home, through her family’s television, and struck her in the neck, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“Showing me a dance, she got shot in the throat and fell to the floor and reached out to me. And there was nothing I could do. Nothing,” Amaria’s mother, Lawanda Jones, said through tears. “To watch your baby bleed to death — my life will never be the same. Never.”
According to Chicago police, 63 people were shot, 16 fatally were shot last weekend. Over Father’s Day weekend, 104 people were shot in Chicago, and 15 were killed. It was the highest number of gun violence victims this year.