13 Injured In Chicago Park Shooting

Sep 20, 2013

Thirteen people were wounded in a shooting in Chicago late Thursday night, including a 3-year-old boy.

The shooting took place in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago.

Police are still interviewing victims to determine a motive for the shooting, but a police spokesman said it appeared to be gang-related.

Chicago had more than 500 homicides in 2012, more than any other city in the United States.


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Thirteen people, including a 3-year-old boy, were wounded in a shooting late last night on the South Side of Chicago. No one died but the child remains hospitalized, and it's just more violence in a city that has seen more than its share. Chicago had more than 500 homicides in 2012, more than any other city in the U.S.

NPR's David Schaper is following this story. He joins us from Chicago. David, what do we know about the shooting last night? Do we know who did this? Is this just gang violence?

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Well, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said that it does appear to be gang-related. This is a shooting that took place in a park. There was a pick-up basketball going on at about 10:15 last night when a group of individuals approached the group that was playing basketball and opened fire. They're saying they're - it's unclear if there's just one shooter or as many as three. But this is - some of the victims were known to be gang members. This is a park in an area where there has been high gang conflict in the past. So it does appear to be gang-related. But as far as anyone in custody, that we don't know.

The superintendent did say that it appears a high-powered assault rifle was used in this shooting. And he quickly made the turn to call for stiffer - to a - stronger gun laws to keep these sort of assault weapons off the streets.

HOBSON: And this is just the latest outburst of violence in Chicago. How are people reacting?

SCHAPER: Well, people are a little tense and a little anxious about it. I mean, it's always a problem in certain neighborhoods. The violence in Chicago is concentrated in relatively few neighborhoods that are highly impoverished, that have a long history of conflict and not just gang conflict, but, you know, a lot of this is interpersonal conflict too. And people in those areas are tense. They feel like they live in war zones.

The broader city - there's been a great deal of concerned in recent years about the higher rate of gun violence here than in several other big cities. Although people do point out - experts, the police officials, the mayor, will say, let's look at the long term trends. There are spikes in violence at certain times. There are times when violence cools down. But looking at the long term trends - violence, this year is down from last year. Last year was a high after about four or five years of declines in gun violence.

And the homicide rate here now is about - half of it was in the early 1990s. So they say that there is progress. It's just hard to see it when you see so many shootings and so many young victims, in particular.

HOBSON: NPR's David Schaper covering the latest shooting in Chicago. David, thank you so much.

SCHAPER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.