UPDATED 03/28/12 – 10:07 p.m.
EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (CBS) — A young East Chicago, Ind., girl is fighting for her life this Wednesday afternoon, after she and another young girl were both hit by bullets that flew through their window.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the girls were not doing anything wrong. Police Chief Mark Becker says the girls were inside their home in the 3900 block of Fir Street in East Chicago when they were hit by bullets from a passing car around 9:40 p.m. Tuesday.
Eleven-year-old Selena Quiroz and her cousin 12-year-old Arianna Quiroz were inside dancing to a video game when someone outside pulled a trigger and wounded both of them.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports
“They were playing video games,” said the girl’s aunt who asked to remain anonymous. “They were crawling on the ground when they heard the shots. No one knew they were hurt until the mom saw them bleeding.”
The family’s pastor, Bishop Tavis Grant, said “Selena runs out, and she’s got blood coming out of her chest, and Arianna is on the floor crying that she can’t breathe. And the family is up in arms because nobody knows exactly what has happened.”
Grant said Arianna was fighting for her life Wednesday night. Her pancreas, liver and kidney were all damaged in the shooting.
Community activist Andrew Holmes said, “The next 48 hours, they tell me, is very critical for her.”
Selena suffered a less critical wound in the shoulder.
CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reports police had no solid leads Wednesday afternoon. East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker said he has enlisted the help of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in case the shooting is gang-related.
Becker said he wanted to bring in federal investigators early so that they’re in on the ground floor. He also said he hopes the shooting does not lead to another act of violence.
“It’s outrageous, it’s unconscionable. Hopefully someone out there knows about this and will find it to be as disgusting as we do, and — regardless of their relationship with the people responsible for this — will pick up the phone and call,” Becker said.
After initial treatment at a local hospital, the girls were taken to separate Chicago hospitals, Becker said.
Ariana was shot in the chest and was in critical condition Wednesday night at the intensive care unit at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital. Selena was stabilized at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Her family said she was alert on the way to the hospital and should hopefully be released soon
The girls’ family is devastated.
Arianna’s brother, Michael Quiroz, said, “I’m hurt for that happening, but I don’t know, there’s nothing I can do about it; just pray.”
He also said, “In a way I kind of blame myself.”
Asked if he thinks whoever fired the shots was trying to shoot him, Michael said, “At this point, I don’t really know why that happened. … I don’t know who did it. There’s no point in retaliation, but I just hope, you know what I’m saying, the person gets caught.”
One after another, friends and neighbors arrived at the home with flowers on Wednesday to offer their sympathy over the girls’ injuries.
A group of community leaders prayed in front of the family home Wednesday morning.
“We had problems here a couple years ago, and hoped we moved beyond that,” said East Chicago City Councilwoman Christine Vasquez. “We thought that we had already resolved those issues, but now as you can see, a couple years later, here we are facing another situation.”
The girls are described as fun-loving students of nearby Benjamin Franklin Elementary School.