Chicago Reels as More Children Become Victims in Latest Wave of Gun Violence

A vigil in the Park Manor neighborhood of Chicago to honor Takiya Holmes, 11, who died after being shot in the head by a stray bullet on Saturday. (© Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Three children shot in four days: That is the latest grim toll in Chicago, which has been reeling from a wave of gun violence.

The latest spasms of gunfire came as Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with the United States attorney general, Jeff Sessions, in Washington on Monday to seek more federal aid to help curb the violence. The Department of Justice said in a statement that they had discussed what could be done to “bring back proactive community policing.”

And this month, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it planned to send more agents to the city, where violence claimed more than 750 lives out of the more than 35,000 shootings last year.

For Chicago’s police superintendent, Eddie T. Johnson, the latest victims touched a chord.

“When this violence touches the innocent or the young, that is when it is no longer just a part of your job,” Mr. Johnson said at a news conference on Wednesday. “It becomes personal.”

He announced the arrest of a suspect in one of the shootings: Antwan Jones, 19, who was charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Takiya Holmes, 11, who was hit in the head by a stray bullet while she was in a van in a parking lot on Saturday. The girl died in the hospital on Tuesday, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Also on Saturday, a 12-year-old girl was hospitalized in critical condition after she was hit in the head by bullet while playing in another part of the city, the police said.

And on Tuesday, in a shooting captured on Facebook Live, a 2-year-old boy, Lavontay White, was fatally struck in the head by a bullet and a 26-year-old man, a known gang member, was killed while both were in the same car, the police said, adding that it appeared to be a targeted shooting.

A pregnant woman in the vehicle was also wounded in the shooting, The Chicago Tribune reported.

After the shooting, Mayor Emanuel issued a statement calling for “meaningful gun control” and harsher sentences for gun crimes.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Christine Hauser

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