CHICAGO (AFP) – Thirteen people, including a toddler, were wounded in an overnight gang shooting in Chicago, President Barack Obama’s adopted hometown that has been struggling to stem violent crime, police said.
Among the victims was a three-year-old child who was in critical condition after being shot in the ear when gunfire erupted around 10:15 pm (0315 GMT Friday) at a park on Chicago’s south side, police said.
No-one was reported killed and no-one had been arrested as of early Friday.
“We believe that the motive for the shooting was gang-related,” said Ron Gaines, a spokesman with the Chicago Police Department.
“At this point, detectives are out questioning witnesses trying to find out what happened,” he said.
Officials said the wounded were transported by ambulance to area hospitals.
Many of the victims — most of whom in their teens, 20s and 30s — were shot in extremities, with bullet wounds to arms, legs or feet.
One 24-year-old man was shot twice in the abdomen and was in serious condition, police said.
The shooting comes as Chicago struggles to stem an epidemic of gang violence that helped push the city’s murder rate up 16 percent to 506 people last year.
Gun violence in Chicago has continued at a slower but still-brisk pace this year.
Obama returned to his adopted hometown earlier this year to appeal for an end to the “senseless” gun violence ravaging Chicago as he pressed for ambitious gun control measures, which so far have been stalled in the U.S. Congress.
Photo Credit: AFP/Scott Olson