10 dead, 53 wounded in shootings over bloody Independence Day weekend

The Fourth of July weekend turned into an explosion of violence across Chicago, where shootings left 10 people dead — including a 7-year-old boy — and at least 53 others injured from Thursday evening to early Monday.

Seven-year-old Amari Brown was killed in a shooting that also left a 26-year-old woman wounded late Saturday in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Amari, who lived in the 500 block of North Drake, was taken to Stroger Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1:56 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Police said Sunday the bullet that fatally wounded 7-year-old Amari Brown on the Fourth of July was meant for his father. Both Amari and the 26-year-old woman were shot in the chest at 11:55 p.m. in the 1100 block of North Harding, police said.

The boy’s father, Antonio Brown, is a ranking gang member with 45 previous arrests and was not cooperating with police as of Sunday afternoon as they tried to find his son’s killer, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Sunday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“It’s crazy. Like who would shoot a 7-year-old? He got shot in the chest. Who would do that? To a baby?” Amari’s grandmother, 52-year-old Vida Hailey asked as she waited for news outside Stroger. “All the kids that are getting killed out here – it’s crazy. When is it going to stop?”

The woman who was shot was also taken to Stroger, where her condition stabilized.

In the most recent fatal shooting, a 48-year-old man was killed in a Sunday afternoon shooting in the Calumet Heights neighborhood.

Anthony Strong was shot in the right side of his chest about 4:55 p.m. in the 9200 block of South Harper, police said.

Strong, who lived in the same block he was shot, was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead at 6:06 p.m., the medical examiner’s office said.

Police said they were questioning a person of interest.

Earlier, two brothers from Missouri died Sunday morning after shots were fired at an SUV in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood on the South Side.

John Hunter, 25, and his 31-year-old brother Willie Hunter were sitting inside a Chevrolet SUV about 6:10 a.m. in the 8800 block of South Bishop, when another male walked up and opened fire, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The SUV — driven by the younger brother — sped away, but then crashed into a building in the 1600 block of West 89th, authorities said.

John Hunter, of the 300 block of East Ashley Street in Jefferson City, Missouri, was shot multiple times. He was taken to Christ Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 7 a.m., authorities said.

Willie Hunter, of the 1200 block of East High Street in Jefferson City, was discovered unresponsive in the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

Autopsies showed both men died from gunshot wounds.

Earlier Sunday, a man was killed in a shooting that left two others wounded in the Northwest Side Albany Park neighborhood.

Jeremy Spivey, 23, and the two others were sitting inside a van in an alley near Sunnyside and Kimball about 2:30 a.m. when a male walked up and fired shots, authorities said.

Spivey, of the 4700 block of West Belmont, was shot multiple times and taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 4:03 a.m., authorities said.

A 17-year-old boy was shot in the right leg and taken to Masonic, where his condition was stabilized. A 26-year-old woman was shot in the right finger and was being treated at Swedish Covenant Hospital, police said.

Relatives of the 17-year-old, who live near the shooting, said they spent the day barbecuing and watching fireworks for the Fourth of July. A female relative said she had heard gunshots around their home between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., then again at 10 p.m.

She took her family inside just five minutes before the shooting. She and her children said they heard about seven gunshots but didn’t think anything of it until they heard ambulances pull up.

A police source said all the victims are documented gang members.

About an hour and a half earlier, a 26-year-old man was shot to death in the South Shore neighborhood.

Dominic Fairley Jr. was sitting in his car in the 7700 block of South South Shore Drive about 1 a.m. when someone walked up and fired shots into the car, authorities said.

He was taken to South Shore Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:19 a.m. He lived in the 8500 block of South Hermitage, authorities said.

Police said the shooting is possibly gang-related.

A 17-year-old boy was shot to death Friday afternoon in a Bronzeville neighborhood park named after slain King College Prep student Hadiya Pendleton.

The teen — identified by authorities as Vonzell Banks of the 4500 block of South Prairie — and a 19-year-old man were standing outside Hadiya Pendleton Park in the 4300 block of South King about 4:45 p.m., when a vehicle approached and someone inside opened fire, police said.

Banks, a Dunbar Vocational High School junior, was playing basketball with his older brother, Vinny, and some friends when he was shot, his aunt, LaShanda Childs, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“He was a loving child, getting ready to be a senior at high school,” Childs said. “He was going to start a summer job on Monday. He was very excited about it.”

Like Pendleton — in whose honor the park was renamed just two months ago — Banks was shot in the back. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:31 p.m., according to police and the medical examiner’s office.

The man was shot in the right foot and was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where his condition was stabilized.

Police said Banks and the 19-year-old were likely not the intended targets of the shooting.

Earlier Friday, a man was killed and a woman was wounded in a South Side Washington Heights neighborhood drive-by shooting on the South Side.

The two were walking in the alley in the 9100 block of South Ashland about 1:20 a.m. when someone in a passing white van opened fire, police said.

Grover Tate, 47, of the 1500 block of West 95th Street, was shot in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

The woman, 43, was shot in the abdomen and buttocks and was taken to Christ Medical Center, where her condition had stabilized, police said.

A 26-year-old man was killed in the same block he lived in just after midnight Friday in the South Side Back of the Yards neighborhood.

The man, identified as Jose Hernandez, was sitting on a porch at 12:05 a.m. in the 4800 block of South Justine when another male walked up and shot him in the back, authorities said.

He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead less than an hour later, the medical examiner’s office said.

An officer at the scene said the shooting — the second on that block in about nine hours — may have stemmed from a conflict involving the La Raza street gang. Neighbors said they heard about four to six gunshots.

“We were all in the kitchen you know, having bonding, family time, and this happens,” said 15-year-old Jocelyn Avila, who lives on the block and also heard gunshots from the other shooting at 3 p.m. Thursday.

The weekend’s first homicide happened Thursday evening in the Little Village neighborhood on the Southwest Side.

About 6:25 p.m., Joseph Gutierrez was riding a bicycle in the 2700 block of South Karlov when a gunman ran up and shot him repeatedly in the upper body, authorities said.

Gutierrez, of the 6200 block of South Kenneth, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:06 p.m., the medical examiner’s office said. Police said the shooting may have been gang-related.

On Saturday night, a man was shot in Streeterville shortly after the Navy Pier fireworks show.

The 19-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen at 10:06 p.m. in the 200 block of East Ohio, according to police and fire officials. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious-to-critical condition, fire officials said.

A possible shooter was taken into custody and a weapon was recovered at the scene.

At least 47 others were injured in shootings dating back to 4:45 p.m. Thursday.

—Chicago Sun-Times Wire

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