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Two Teens Killed Blocks Apart In Austin

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Two teenagers were shot to death just blocks apart on the West Side late Tuesday and early Wednesday morning in the Austin neighborhood.

Gunfire first rang out in the 4800 block of West Potomac Avenue about 9:40 p.m., killing a 19-year-old woman, identified as Ashley Hardmon, police said.

Several shooters approached a crowd gathered outside a home and opened fire, striking the 19-year-old in the head, police said. She was taken to Stroger Hospital where she died shortly thereafter, police said.

The Sun-Times Media Wire reports, neighbors said the 19-year-old recently returned home after training as a pharmacy worker with Job Corps. She was described as a “tomboy” who was nice but quiet by a neighbor who said her name was Kwanzaa.

At the time, several kids were playing in the block, said a neighbor named Bernice, who declined to give more than her first name. “Thank God one of the kids didn’t get shot,” she said.

She said there are escalating tensions between two rival groups in the area.

A woman who identified herself as the deceased’s mother declined to comment, only saying, “It’s just got to stop. It’s just got to stop.”

While police were still gathering evidence, shots rang out several blocks to the northwest about 12:46 a.m.

Outside Banner Academy West High School, 14-year-old Damani Henard was dead beside a bicycle in the 5000 block of West North Avenue. He was shot multiple times, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

The names of the victims were not immediately known.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)