By Steven Graves


CHICAGO (CBS) — A 13-year-old girl was shot and seriously wounded Sunday afternoon in the North Lawndale neighborhood.

Police said around 3:30 p.m., the girl was on the sidewalk in the 1600 block of South Homan Avenue when two people got out of a burgundy-colored sport-utility vehicle and began firing shots.

The girl was struck twice in the abdomen by gunfire and was rushed to Stroger Hospital of Cook County, police said.

The Fire Department said the girl was taken to the hospital in serious-to-critical condition. Her condition was stabilized, police later said.

Police sources told CBS 2 the girl was an innocent bystander, possibly caught in the middle of a gang-related shooting.

A witness told us he could have been a victim as well, but ducked in the nick of time.

“I dived on the ground like I was going swimming,” said Martin Elmore.

On Sunday evening, police officers were still staged near the scene on Homan Avenue. The scene was calm by the nighttime hours, but hours earlier, Elmore told CBS 2’s Steven Graves he was afraid for his life there.

“I just turned around and dived to the ground,” Elmore said. “And I was saying my prayers, because I just knew I was hit.”

Elmore works nearby said it all happened fast. He thinks the gunshots were meant for a man whom he was helping light a cigarette.

“I thought it was me, because I just looked up and just see him shooting at us,” Elmore said.

Instead, the 13-year-old girl was struck – caught in the middle of the rapid crossfire.

Meanwhile, the intended target got out of Dodge.

“He took off in the street,” Elmore said. “He ran off in the street.”

Elmore, a store worker, said he didn’t even see the girl get shot as he ducked. All he knows is that there was some type of a quarrel inside the store before it led to such horror.

He is now grateful just to be alive.

This shooting was just a little more than a mile from the scene where a 7-year-old girl was shot in Little Village while trick-or-treating on Halloween. A 15-year-old boy has been charged as a juvenile with firing the shots in that case.

In the Homan Avenue case, police representatives said late Sunday they were contacting Area Central detectives to confirm whether any arrests have been made or if there is a suspect information.