A seven-year-old boy – said to be the child of a gang leader – was among eight people killed and more than 40 injured in a weekend of violence that has left Chicago reeling.
Police officials said Amari Brown (pictured above) was killed by a bullet meant for his father, Antonio Brown, as the family returned from an Independence Day celebration on the West Side of the city. He was hit in the right side of the chest just before midnight on Saturday July 4th.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Antonio Brown was a “ranking gang member” with 45 previous arrests. He told reporters that Mr Brown was not cooperating with investigators into the death of his son.
“My son was a character man,” Mr Brown told ABC 7 Chicago at a prayer vigil on Sunday evening in the Humboldt Park neighbourhood where the child was shot. “He was a clown man – just like me.”
A 26-year-old woman that the boy was standing with was also struck in the chest. She was taken to hospital and is in a stable condition.
Mr Brown told the Chicago Tribue that he rushed his son to hospital but that he died on the way.
“He was just down. He wasn’t crying, he was speaking ‘Daddy, daddy’, ” said Mr Brown.
“I picked him up and put him in the car. I was in the back seat, I was talking to him the whole time. I was like, ‘You cool, I know you cool’.”
He said that his son had responded by saying: “Yeah, I’m cool. I’m cool.”
Police said there were a total of 33 shooting incidents between Friday and Sunday, with most of the bloodshed occurring in just eight hours over Saturday night.
A 16-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl were also reported to be among the victims.