CHICAGO — Police continue to search for suspects as one of the victims of the Halloween mass shooting speaks exclusively to WGN News.
A large gathering to honor a lost family member turned into chaos when gunfire erupted on Chicago’s West Side Halloween night, injuring 14 people, including two children and a teen.
“We were all gathered together and talking and gunfire erupted,” said a shooting victim who did not wish to be identified by her full name. “For this to happen, it’s unbelievable.”
Speaking exclusively with WGN News from her hospital bed at Loyola University Medical Center, the woman was one of 14 people at the corner of South California Avenue and West Polk Street in Garfield Park around 9:30 p.m. Monday when at least two people began firing shots from a passing SUV.
“I know everyone who was shot and I’m related to the majority of them,” the woman, who was shot twice in the leg and once in the ankle, told WGN News. “My aunt, my cousins and the others are friends I grew up around, so basically, we’re all family.”
The victim revealed that she organized an Oct. 31 vigil for her cousin, who passed away days earlier from natural causes at age 38.
“We did the balloon release so everyone could remember her,” the victim said. “Family could get together and talk about the good things we had with her and everything that we shared with her.”
But as the crowd gathered to pay their respects, tragedy struck.
“We just start hearing gunshots,” the woman said. “It was just a bunch of women and kids and a couple of people throughout the neighborhood. That’s when the gunfire erupted. It was a lot of shots.”
Among the 14 shooting victims were three children, ages three, 11 and 13. The youngest shooting victim suffered a gunshot wound to both legs.
“They’re doing OK,” she said. “One is out of the hospital. The other two are still in the hospital. One just got out of surgery. That was a success.”
The victim said the 15th person injured in the shooting incident was a cousin struck by a car while trying to get to safety.
Family and friends are now left wondering how to recover physically and emotionally from their horrific injuries while pondering if anywhere is safe or sacred.
“You want to ask why but that’s not even good enough to ask why?” the victim said. “It’s just sad. Just sad.”
A prayer vigil will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the exact location of the shooting.
No one is in custody. A $15,000 reward is being offered for information that may lead to an arrest or conviction of the suspects involved.