13 people, including 3-year-old, shot at Chicago park




Posted on September 20, 2013 at 7:34 AM

Updated Friday, Sep 20 at 12:47 PM

(ABC News) -- At least 13 people, including a 3-year-old boy, were shot at a basketball court on Chicago's South Side Thursday night, authorities said.

A total of 10 ambulances responded to the scene near Cornell Square Park around 10:15 p.m. local time and transported the 12 victims to various hospitals, fire officials said. Another victim who was shot walked into a local hospital with injuries.

The 3-year-old boy was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the ear that exited through his mouth, police spokesman Ron Gaines told ABC News. The boy was identified as Deonta Howard, according to ABC News station WLS-TV. After hours of surgery, Deonta was listed in stable condition and expected to live, a family representative told WLS.

Four others are in serious condition and the rest are in stable or good condition.

Ages of the victims range from 3 to 41 and include two teenagers, Gaines said. Three of the victims are women.

"It happened so fast," a witness only identified as Jack said. "I was over at the side of the park and I heard the shots. I came over here and there was a lot of people down."

The motive for the shooting is believed to be gang-related, Gaines said. No information was given about potential suspects and police are investigating.

The shooting comes nearly three weeks after Chicago saw an outburst of violence Labor Day weekend that ended with eight dead and 20 others injured. The city's Police Department has responded to shootings that have grabbed national headlines by stepping up its crime-fighting efforts, paying overtime to add patrols to some hard-hit neighborhoods, including the Back of the Yards, where Thursday's shooting took place.

In a February visit to his hometown, President Obama addressed the rising violence. Obama said absent fathers and broken marriages are among the contributing factors in cases of youth poverty, violence and crime. He said one of the solutions is strengthening parental role models.

"There's no more important ingredient for success, nothing that would be more important for us reducing violence than strong, stable families, which means we should do more to promote marriage and encourage fatherhood," Obama said.

South Side teenager Hadiya Pendleton has become a symbol for the tragic loss resulting from gun violence in the city. Pendleton, 15, was gunned down days after performing at Obama's inauguration earlier this year.

First lady Michelle Obama attended Pendleton's funeral.

Police say Pendleton was killed in a shooting blocks from her school on the city's South Side, and about a mile from the Obamas' own neighborhood.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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