National News

Nine-year-old killed, both parents wounded in mass shooting at family gathering

todayApril 15, 2024


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(CHICAGO) — A child was killed and at least 10 other people were injured, including a 1-year-old and an 8-year-old, when gunfire broke out at a family gathering in Chicago, according to police.

No suspects have been arrested in the mass shooting that erupted Saturday night on the city’s South Side, and police are asking for the public’s help in identifying those who might be responsible for the shooting.

Deputy Chief Don Jerome said the shooting was likely gang-related.

“This was not a random act of violence,” Jerome said during a news conference Saturday night. “Regardless of the motivation for this incident, three innocent children were struck tonight and one of them tragically succumbed to her wounds.”

The slain victim was identified by her father as 9-year-old Ariana Molina, who police said was shot in the head. She was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said.

Ariana’s father, Jose Molina, told ABC News that the shooting also left him and his wife with bullet wounds. He said his wife remains hospitalized with a bullet wound to the back and that he suffered wounds to his feet.

He said his daughter was “wonderful and helpful, and was everything to him.”

The shooting unfolded during a large family outdoor gathering in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, police said. Witnesses told police that around 9:18 p.m., a black sedan pulled up to the event and occupants opened fire on the crowd without warning.

Police said there were likely two shooters responsible for the carnage.

“The offenders’ actions, make no mistake, are horrific and unacceptable in our city,” Jerome said.

Police officers went to the scene after a ShotSpotter alert detected 18 gunshot rounds at the location, according to police.

Officers found multiple victims suffering from gunshot wounds and started performing life-saving measures, authorities said.

At least three people were in critical condition, including the 1-year-old and 8-year-old boys, police said. Both children were shot in the abdomen and were being treated Sunday at Comer Children’s Hospital, according to police.

A 36-year-old man who suffered two gunshot wounds to the back was also in critical condition Sunday at the University of Chicago Medical Center, police said.

The other victims ranged in age from 19 to 40, police said.

Chicago Alderman Stephanie Coleman, who represents Chicago’s 16th Ward where the shooting occurred, released a statement Sunday calling the shooting “a cowardly crime.”

“The Back of the Yards community is united in our grief, prayers and collective mindset that we must continue to stand firm against these senseless acts of physical force,” Coleman said.

“Violence is a citywide issue that continues to falsely characterize the true essence and intrinsic nature of our neighborhoods. This tragedy has left us all heartbroken and distressed,” Coleman said.

ABC News’ Roger Lee contributed to this report.

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