CHICAGO - A 7-year-old girl was playing with cousins at a Brighton Park home early Christmas morning when gunfire erupted outside, sending a stray bullet through the living room window and leaving her in critical condition.
The family’s holiday gathering was upended just after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday when someone opened fire on the sidewalk outside the home in the 3500 block of South Washtenaw Avenue, Chicago police said.
A 38-year-old man was shot in the leg and later showed up to St. Anthony Hospital, where he was transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital for treatment, police said. One of the shots flew into the house and wounded the girl, who was struck in the torso and rushed to Stroger Hospital.
The girl remained in critical condition at Stroger Hospital Thursday morning, police said. No arrests have been made as police continue to review POD camera footage.
The intended target of the shooting was a 38-year-old man known to law enforcement as a convicted felon and registered gun offender, police said. Police would not confirm if the intended target was the man shot.
The bullet left a hole in one of the home’s living room windows that held holiday decorations with a “Merry Christmas” sign and a Christmas tree.
The girl’s family said in a statement later Wednesday morning that she remained in critical condition and they were “grateful for the outpouring of love and support.” They requested privacy while they supported her at the hospital.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, reacting to news reports of the incident, offered prayers for the girl and her family and promised police would work to find the shooter.
“As we gather for the holiday, we renew our commitment to protect our children from harm,” the mayor tweeted. “To the family, CPD will do everything possible to bring the perpetrator to justice. As a city, you have our love and support.”
The girl had come from suburban Hanover Park to visit relatives in the neighborhood, said Andrew Holmes, a community activist known for supporting families of gun violence and seeking information on suspects. In the afternoon, he walked up and down the block handing out flyers urging neighbors to report any information they had about the shooting.
Holmes said he was in touch with the family, and that they were “holding together” as best they could.
“The family was sitting around the table just enjoying Christmas and catching up with each other,” he said. “Then the bullet went through the window, went through a couch and hit her while she was playing with her cousins.
“The children are trying to understand what happened. Those kids are going through a lot of pain right now,” Holmes said. “The family’s totally upset and totally in shock. They’re trying to just stay together.”
The shooting came after nine people were wounded in citywide gun violence on Christmas Eve.
It’s also the second shooting of a 7-year-old girl on a holiday in the past couple months. On Halloween, Gisselle Zamago was struck by two stray bullets while trick-or-treating in Little Village.