Chicago: seven-year-old girl shot while trick-or-treating on Halloween

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Photograph: John J Kim/AP

A seven-year-old girl is fighting for her life in hospital in Chicago on Friday after she was shot while out trick-or-treating for Halloween, and police are on an intense hunt for at least one gunman.

The child was hit in the chest and neck with a stray bullet when at least two men fired seven or more bullets that were intended for a suspected gang rival nearby, police said.

The intended target of the shooting was near the girl and other children and parents who were out on a busy street for the seasonal festivities on Thursday evening.

It was still daylight when the gunfire rang out around 5.30pm local time, and the child’s father, who was accompanying her, was heard to cry out: “My little girl’s been shot.”

She is in a critical condition after being rushed to hospital when police found her in a mobile phone store, where her father had taken her after scooping her up from where she had fallen, still dressed in her Halloween costume as a bee, or possibly a ladybug, witnesses reported.

The man who was the actual target of the shooting was wounded in the hand and was described as “uncooperative” with law enforcement.

A gunman wearing a face mask yelled a gang slogan and fired at least seven times, hitting the girl on the right side of neck and her upper chest, according to Chicago police. The intended target was a member of the Latin Kings gang, police said, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

Lali Lara, 25, told the Tribune that she rushed the girl, who was wearing a red-and-black costume, and her accompanying family members inside the phone store, and held the girl’s hand while pressing against her chest to stop the bleeding.

“I was pressing on her and calling her name so she won’t close her eyes,’’ she said, adding: ”She was looking at me, and I was calling her name. She was holding my hand for three minutes and then she let me go. I have kids – I would go crazy if something happened to my kids.”

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After she was taken away by ambulance, family and friends gathered outside the hospital, tears streaming and freezing in the cold evening air, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Police said at least three suspects ran off after the shooting.

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Ian Martinez was handing out Halloween candy to children on the street when he saw the girl after she had been shot.

“She was very pale,” Martinez told the Sun-Times. “It’s very tragic. We were [expecting] that it was gonna be a fun day. Things like this are not allowed. They should do more police inspections around this area.”

“This is unacceptable,” Sgt Rocco Alioto of the Chicago police department said. “It’s a seven-year-old girl that’s trick-or-treating with her family out here, and happens to get shot because a group of guys want to shoot while there’s a street full of kids.”

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