By Timothy Mclaughlin
CHICAGO (Reuters) – An 11-year-old girl shot in the head over the weekend died on Tuesday and a toddler was killed by gunfire during a triple shooting as Chicago continued its struggle to curb gun violence.
Takiya Holmes, 11, who was shot on Saturday evening, died Tuesday morning, Andrew Holmes, her cousin, said in a telephone interview. She was one of two young girls shot in the head in separate incidents during the weekend.
“This is a tough one,” Holmes, a community activist, said. “It is a big, big loss mainly for her mother, great-grandmother and grandmother.”
Takiya Holmes, whose grandmother also confirmed the death, was shot while sitting in the back of a parked car on the city’s South Side, officer Jose Estrada of the Chicago Police Department’s Office of News Affairs said.
Police are investigating but no suspects are in custody, Estrada said.
Later on Tuesday afternoon, three people traveling in a car were shot, including a two-year old, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson told a news conference.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a tweet shortly after Johnson’s news conference that the child had died.
A male in the car who also died is believed to have been the target of the shooting. The child’s aunt, who was also shot and who is pregnant, is in fair condition, Guglielmi said.
Last year in Chicago, a city of 2.7 million, 762 people were murdered. The violence has drawn the attention of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly criticized the city’s inability to quell crime.
Murders in Chicago so far this year total 63, down from 75 for the same period in 2016, but shootings have increased from 300 to 313, Guglielmi said Tuesday prior to the triple shooting.
Also on Saturday evening Kanari Gentry Bowers, 12, was hit in the head by gunfire while playing with her friends at Henderson Elementary School, according to police.
Kanari remains hospitalized as police search for a suspect.
“This is an example of what we are dealing with, a block by block war that is going unchecked, uninterrupted, with 10-year-olds, 11-year-olds, 12-year-olds being gunned down in the process,” Alderman Raymond Lopez told a news conference.
Both girls appear to have been struck by stray bullets, local media reported.
(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by James Dalgleish)