CHICAGO (AP) — A nephew of Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade was one of 13 men shot — two fatally — during a violent six-hour stretch in Chicago, another indication that violence is on the rise in the nation’s third-largest city.
Wade learned of the situation with his nephew after Miami defeated Dallas on Thursday night. On Friday, Wade said he played “with a heavy heart” when the Heat visited Toronto. Wade scored 30 points in Miami’s 113-101 victory, and afterward said he expected his nephew to recover.
“I played for him and with him in mind,” Wade said. “I was 9 years old when he was born. I was an uncle at 9 years old. A lot of thoughts go through your mind. … My prayers go out to all the families involved, especially the one family who lost a child. My prayers go out to them. It’s tough.”
Wade’s nephew was one of six males shot at a store on Chicago’s South Side about 6 p.m. Thursday by hooded men who police said fled the scene in an SUV. One man was dead at the scene and four others — ranging in age from 16 to 24 — were hospitalized in critical condition. The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the slain man as Shawndell Harris, 22.
The Wade family has not released their injured relative’s name, nor has Chicago police. The eight-time NBA All-Star said his Wade’s World Foundation has made curbing violence, particularly gun violence, a top priority for several years.
For Wade, a Chicago native, that made the news of these shootings even more troubling.
“It’s very concerning,” Wade said. “A lot of work that I do in the community in Chicago is about (gun violence) and to have a family member, my nephew, be involved in it, it’s sad. It hurts your heart to think about not only your family but other families going through it. I’m just glad that he’s fine and hopefully he recovers. … You never expect to get a call like that.”
The news of the shooting involving Wade’s nephew comes one week after Heat players including Wade and LeBron James spoke out about last month’s shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. A neighborhood watch volunteer fatally shot the 17-year-old in the Orlando suburb of Sanford, Fla. No arrest has been made; the volunteer has claimed self-defense.
Of the Martin shooting, Wade said that, “as a father, this hits home.”
With regard to his nephew, Wade indicated surgery had taken place. Wade was still collecting details.
“My family tried to keep me out of it while I was playing the game,” Wade said. “So now that the game is over hopefully I can call and get a chance to talk to them.”
Police in Chicago said there were three other shootings during Thursday’s stretch of violence.
— Shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, David Gully, 31, was fatally shot in the head across the street from his South Side home. Suspects have been questioned and several weapons have been recovered, police said.
— About 10:30 p.m. Thursday, four people standing in a parking lot on Chicago’s West Side were wounded when a gunman fired at them from a moving vehicle, police said.
— Two other men were wounded in separate shootings on the South Side — one in the leg and one in the buttocks.
The shootings are part of a larger uptick in violence across the city this year. From Jan. 1 to March 29 of this year, there were 474 shootings, 101 of them fatal, according to the Chicago Police Department. During the same time period last year, there were 346 shootings, 55 fatal.
Tio Hardiman, director of the anti-violence group CeaseFire, said he believes clashes are increasing because the city is dealing with violence as a crime problem and not as a public health epidemic.
“You cannot arrest your way out of this problem,” Hardiman said. “You have to meet people where they are and change the way they think.”
Tim Reynolds reported from Miami. AP freelance writer Ian Harrison in Toronto contributed.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.