Two Girls, Ages 2 And 7, Shot In NW Side Park

Updated 06/09/11 5:30 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS)– Family members are speaking out, after two girls, ages 2 and 7, were caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting in the Northwest Side’s Avondale neighborhood.

Around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, neighbors heard about five gunshots in Avondale Park, in the 3500 block of West School Street.

WBBM Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding reports police say a van traveling southbound in an alley near Drake Avenue stopped, and someone got out and fired shots toward the basketball court at the park.

On Thursday morning, the aunt of the 7-year-old girl, identified as Jocelyn Rodriguez, was speaking out.

“It’s been a nightmare for my family,” said Melissa Sanchez. “I’m extremely upset to know, especially that that it’s my niece, and my daughter was there; I can’t even think about it right now. It’s been really hard for everyone.”

Sanchez was about to leave for the hospital when she spoke to CBS 2. She said 7-year-old’s father was with his daughter at the playground when the shooting happened.

Reports say the gunman was targeting men on the basketball court, not the children. But there were several children playing at the time.

A suspect was in custody, but the city’s new top cop says the pressure on the gangs continues.

“It’s going to be ongoing and relentless and we’re not going to tolerate this kind of behavior,” Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said.

Albany Park District police said the 2-year-old girl, who is not related to Jocelyn, was grazed in the head and was in fair condition at Children’s Memorial Hospital.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding reports

Jocelyn was shot in the back and was in serious condition at the hospital, authorities said. Relatives on Thursday said the girl was not expected to need surgery.

When the shooting happened, a community policing meeting was in progress at the Avondale Park field house steps away.

Longtime resident JoAnn Trainer said the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meeting abruptly came to an end when the shots rang out.

Ald. Ariel Reboyras of the nearby 30th Ward and a police officer were among those at the meeting.

“They told us, ‘Everybody hit the floor,’ and waited a few minutes, and the police officer that was there left the building,” Trainer said. “We looked outside the windows. I’ve seen a gentleman holding a child that had been shot in the back.”

Police and parents ran outside immediately, but it was too late.

Barb Beronski, a friend of the family, was distraught about the shooting.

“I took them to the park when I go to the meeting. The kids are outside with an adult, usually. This should have never, never happened,” Beronski said. “I mean, the shooter – I was watching him right through the window. I was screaming, ‘The kids! The kids!’ Mr. Reboyras is like, ‘Get down! Get down!’ It should have never happened. I couldn’t sleep all night just thinking that this guy, knowing that there’s kids going shooting like this unnecessarily. I hope they catch them. I hope they catch them.”

Neighbor Jessica Ruiz says in the summer, the area is not particularly safe.

“In the summer, the gangbangers come and they have their meeting in the park, so it’s pretty bad now,” she said.

Residents also said they hope to see the basketball court at the park torn down immediately, because of all the gang activity it attracts.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

  • Natasha Thomas

    I pray and hope both these poor girls will survive this. My prayers are with their families.

  • What!?!

    So, this is what it’s coming to? 3 and 5 year olds getting shot by thugs/punks?

    • Roberta Waker

      Stronger penalties are needed for these gang bangers. Being caught with an unregistered firearm and firing it should carry a MINIMUM sentence of 10 years PLUS the additional time for the actual crime. As long as they don’t have to pay a heavy price, we will continue to read about these thugs and innocent children will continue to be shot and killed. Conceal and carry looks pretty good to me; at least you have a fighting chance when attacked or shot at.

  • Citizen for a Livable Chicago

    Put the racial profiling laws to bed and start stopping these punks. If the city does not give the green light to the cops thay are nothing but enablers. The elected officials knows what it takes to get this problem under control., but they do not posses the backbone to do. Nothing but enablers that’s waht They are.

  • dan


    Send these fine young black and hispanic boys over to Aphganistan. Give them all the guns they want and point them towards the Pakistan border and tell them “Go get em boys” Then they can go shoot and kill all the “enemies” they want and even get paid for it. Then their parents can be on the news so proud saying my little Juan or Leshawn is such a good boy and it will actually be the truth. And if they happen to get killed then people will think they are heros and not just another gang banger. I guess the question is will the army let them wear their baggy pants?

    • Roberta Waker

      Unfortunately the Army won’t even let them join if they don’t have a GED with 20 hours of college or a regular HS diploma. How many of these kids graduated or have ANY college? I agree that sending them overseas would be a good way to put their urges for violence to good use. Fact is, it isn’t going to happen.

  • Im juss sayin'

    Happened while a CAPS mtg was in progress? Did the cops run out of the mtg and catch the thugs? I think not…have you seen the physiques of most of the cops in Chicago? I hope the children are ok.

    • g-man

      Did you ever notice that when the cops do catch the bad guy that his momma be on camera saying he was a good boy just getting his life togther and the police should not shoot to kill but just shoot the gun out of pookies hand and blah blah blah. The police should not run after or chase or even swear at the bad guy—welcome to Chicago politics junior

  • g-man

    You mean all these cameras that Daley said would cut crime did not scare these hood rats away ??????

    • Im juss sayin'

      Hood rats not intimidated by cameras? Here’s the shocked look on my face :-l

  • Priscilla vojtech

    My nephew is hispanic and was also the gentelman holding the 7 year old after she was shot…..I’d say he is a hero for helping her.

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