CHICAGO—While many 13-year-olds could have been tucked away in their beds early Thursday morning, at least one was just moments away from a shooting that injured seven people on the South Side of Chicago.
Shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday, three gunmen opened fire and injured at least seven people at a video release party at Mr. G’s Supper Club and Entertainment Center. Police say the incident could have been gang related.
Local rapper 13-year-old Lil Mouse was among those who performed at the event, which happened to be on a school night. Raheem Karriem, who said he’s president of Hella Bandz Music Group, the label that represents Mouse, said the teen performed at the nightclub and left after his performance.
But the presence of a child at a nightclub has many Chicago parents in an uproar.
“He shouldn’t have been out there that late, anyway,” said Chicago parent Christopher Southward, 41, who has a 14-year-old daughter. “He should have been at home getting ready for school for the next day.”
Karriem said Mouse’s mother accompanies him to all of his performances. According to him, the teen doesn’t mingle with the crowd, is closely monitored by security and usually leaves after he performs.
Mouse’s mother was not immediately available for comment Thursday.
Chicago parent Norma Looney says it would be difficult to gauge the type of crowd at the various nightclubs, but she does her best to monitor where her 14-year-old daughter goes and what type of crowds she may run into.
“She has to be in the house by 9 p.m. On school nights, she’s only out because she’s doing something related to school,” Looney, 43, said. Anywhere else her teen goes is with her consent, with her or a family member, she says.
Many parents admit that the Thursday morning incident is something that kids could witness in Chicago these days, and that they could potentially experience anything, but Looney and Southward said they do their best to make sure their kids aren’t exposed to too much too soon.
Karriem said, “(Mouse is) exposed to the things every day, but nothing of that nature has ever happened around him.”
Although the city’s homicide count peaked above 500 last year—much of what could have been gang related— Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says the rate is down for 2013.
Despite the elevated national attention that Chicago has received on its violence issue lately, police say through March 11, the city had experienced 61 homicides this year versus 79 for the same time frame last year.
In February, Chicago had 14 murders, “the best since January, 1957,” according to McCarthy.
Sean Howard, a spokesman for Gene Linton, owner of Mr. G’s Supper Club and Entertainment Center wrote in a statement that his team has “pledged our full and complete cooperation with the Chicago Police Department in its investigation of this matter. The offenders of this crime must be brought to justice.”
Chicago police said no arrests have been made in connection with Thursday morning’s shooting and detectives are continuing to investigate.
Renita D. Young is a Chicago-based multimedia journalist. Follow her on Twitter @RenitaDYoung.