CHICAGO (CBS) – The mother of a child wounded in a mass shooting last week in Chicago is thanking God and doctors for her son’s recovery, and is calling for an end to the gun violence that’s plaguing the city.
“This is more than a miracle,” said Shamarah Leggett, whose 3-year-old son Deonta Howard suffered a gunshot wound to the face during the shooting at Cornell Square Park.
WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Grzanich reports Deonta was among 13 people hit by gunfire in an attack carried out by gang members retaliating for an earlier incident.
“I would like to thank God first. I would like to thank the doctors at Mount Sinai, the mayor and everybody who’s been keeping my family in their prayers.”
According to Leggett, her son is doing better and should make a full recovery. The boy has had two surgeries and will undergo plastic surgery to further repair injuries.
“He’s running around, he’s playing, he’s very active. He’s back to Deonta,” said Leggett. “He can talk, he can see, he can hear. Nothing’s wrong with his brain, just his face. He’s doing better than I expected.”
Deonta began talking about the shooting after he woke up from sedation, and Leggett said her son is afraid.
“Mom, they shot me. And he pointed to his face like they shot me right here in my face. I’m like but you ok? He like yeah I’m ok.” Leggett said she asked Deonta if he wanted to back to the park and the boy replied. “No mom, I don’t want to go back to that park. He thinks he’s going to get shot in the park. That’s all he keeps saying is he’s going to get shot in the park. I don’t want to go back to the park. That man, he was in the park with a gun.”
To the people responsible for the shooting, Leggett makes this plea.
“Stop the violence. This is the wrong way to go. Especially to shoot up a park where you know kids hang out and play. Kids don’t even feel safe in the park no more.”
Leggett said she sees the park empty every day.
“Usually it’s full of kids and dogs running around and babies on the swing. And it’s empty.”
Two suspected gunmen and two others have been charged in the shooting last Thursday in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. Police said all four suspects are charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery. Investigators identify the shooters as 22-year-old Tabari Young and 21-year-old Bryon Champ.
“As of right now, we have four offenders charged in this shooting, including the man who fired that military-grade weapon, and a man who supplied that military-grade weapon,” Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said at a news conference Tuesday.
Young has a record including more than a dozen arrests. Prosecutors said the weapon he fired was an AK-47. Young and three other men including Brad Jett, 22; Kewane Gatewood, 20; and Bryon Champ, 21, have been charged with three counts each of attempted murder and aggravated battery. The four were denied bail at a bond hearing Tuesday afternoon.
McCarthy said Gatewood supplied the assault rifle Young fired at the park. Champ also allegedly fired a gun during the attack, and Jett acted as a lookout, according to McCarthy. Prosecutors said Champ’s gun was a .22-caliber revolver.